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"Throughout his long public career, Senator Jesse Helms was a tireless advocate for the people of North Carolina, a stalwart defender of limited government and free enterprise, a fearless defender of a culture of life, and an unwavering champion of those struggling for liberty."
From the NY Times:
AGE OF RICHES
$6 Million for the Co-op, Then Start to Renovate
By CHRISTINE HAUGHNEY
Julia Kim rapped her spiked Gucci heels along the floor of a Midtown furniture showroom earlier this year as she approached a $30,000 custom wraparound couch that will be the centerpiece of the Manhattan co-op apartment she plans to share with her fiancé, Stephen Rushmore.
With advice from Mr. Rushmore and their decorator, John Barman, Ms. Kim deliberated for more than half an hour over details like the density of the cushions, the number of pillows and the height of the seating.
This purchase was just one of many steps in the journey that began more than a year ago when Mr. Rushmore, a consultant, and Ms. Kim, a former banker who left her job to concentrate full time on renovating the new apartment, decided to buy a duplex just off Park Avenue for $6 million.
Indeed, even after paying top dollar for a luxury apartment, most buyers see the need for more work. Like Mr. Rushmore and Ms. Kim, they often embark on costly and lengthy renovations intended to reflect not only their own taste but also their ambitions to find a perch in the social and economic swirl of today's Gilded Age.
Here's the rest of the article if you can stand to read it.
Next up from McSweeneys:
A FEW YEARS AFTER THE COMPLETE COLLAPSE OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMY, A CONSUMER REPORTER REVIEWS THE IPHONE. BY MATTHEW DUVERNE HUTCHINSON
Apple iPhone (8-gigabyte model)
Much has been made of how the iPhone is really more than just a phone. And the point bears repeating, especially now that all communication networks have been destroyed in the Great Food Wars. But even in our post-apocalyptic agrarian wasteland, this technological marvel still boasts an impressive set of functions, a partial list of which includes:
- Walnut cracker
- Canned-goods smasher
- Slingshot projectile for hunting small woodland game
- Pestle for grinding wheat into flour (and flattening pemmican)
- Nonporous preparation surface for mixing blow-dart poisons
- Reflective signal mirror for coordinating attacks on rival scavenging tribes
Sure, there are existing products that can already handle each of these tasks individually, but the iPhone really brings them all together into one easy and fun-to-use device.
Apple has always had a reputation for sleek, state-of-the-art design, and the iPhone is no exception. For several weeks, I was being tracked by a pack of feral, parentless children with no sense of right or wrong. Cornered in an old boxcar, I removed the iPhone from my tattered loincloth waistband and held it out to them in an act of pure desperation. The sounds of their hissing grew quiet as the savages became entranced by its smooth, shiny surfaces and glossy, mirrored finish. Fearing me as some sort of deity, these former predators now serve as my pawns in the brutal chess match for our territory's remaining petroleum.
Though I have not had a real conversation on my iPhone since the de-facto fall of mankind, I've had many, many imaginary conversations to stave off madness. Whether I'm speaking to my long-deceased stockbroker in an act of heartbreaking denial, or just verbally expressing the confused rage and fear I've lived with for the past seven years, the voice that responds in my head is always crystal clear and compassionate.
There's a good chance no one will read this, as I'm scrawling it onto the remote ruins of an old condominium building with a stick of charred wood. Nonetheless, the Apple iPhone has really changed the rules of how we communicate and survive in a constantly evolving world. I was a little disappointed that a protective carrying case is not included in the purchase price. But, overall, it's safe to say that Apple has hit yet another home run with this engaging, innovative device.
'nuff said ...
From a recent UNICEF study: An Overview of Child Well-Being in Rich Countries
The United Kingdom and the United States find themselves in the bottom third of the rankings for five of the six dimensions reviewed.
Among the most appaling statistics is how low the US ranks in infant mortality. This while spending significantly more of its Gross Domestic Product on health care:
Health spending as percent of GDP, 2004:
United States: 15.2%
Columnist Molly Ivins died this week at 62 of breast cancer.
Dahlia Lithwick, herself a very good columnist on legal matters, writes a great remembrance of Ivins in her What I learned from Molly Ivins and therin relays a illustrative Ivins bon mot:
Ivins once described her job as "to provide regular instruction in the science of how to keep laughing, even though you've considered all the facts"
… which helps me put into perspective my last post on the anger I feel about Bush.
I'll miss having the opportunity to read Molly Ivins' work and I will endeavor to keep laughing.
Browsing the web today I came across this story Bush voices support for abortion rights opponents:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush marked the 34th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision Monday, telling thousands of abortion foes he shares their goal of seeing "the day when every child is welcomed in life and protected into law."
Nothing special, just another day. Just another example of his manipulation and hypocracy. As he always does, he didn't show up for the event, but phoned it in, so he could avoid being photographed there. I felt, as I usual, a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, when I looked at Bush's smirking visage during yet another encounter with the on-going experience of being exposed to this man and his stupendously negative and horifying effect on this country and the world.
It occured to me, as it frequently does, that the anger that I feel, about him and his associates, that whatever apparently impotent actions I may take against them is natural and instinctive but in the long run not very healthy. But what can one do?
Then I recalled and looked up some passages in Orwell's 1984 about the Two Minutes Hate:
The next moment a hideous, grinding screech, as of some monstrous machine running without oil, burst from the big telescreen at the end of the room. It was a noise that set one's teeth on edge and bristled the hair at the back of one's neck. The Hate had started.
The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretense was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic.
Now, the metaphor is not perfect, but the experience I and many others have gone through over the past six years is like the conditioning that those poor souls in 1984, fictional though they may be, had to endure.
And so, it occured to me that what might be healthy would be for me and others in my boat to institue a practice that we could call the "Two Minutes Revulsion" and take a brief time out to project our anger towards Bush & Co., get it out of our system and then move on for the rest of the day.
Worth a try anyway …
From Faux News, found on Digby:
From The Washington Monthly:
Frances Fragos Townsend, assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, was on CNN yesterday discussing the war in Iraq, Saddam's pending execution, and the Middle East, but CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry had the temerity to ask about the terrorist behind 9/11.
Officials from this White House are known for some bizarre comments, but Townsend's response has to go in the Hall of Fame.
HENRY: You know, going back to September 2001, the president said, dead or alive, we're going to get him. Still don't have him. I know you are saying there's successes on the war on terror, and there have been. That's a failure.
TOWNSEND: Well, I'm not sure -- it's a success that hasn't occurred yet. I don't know that I view that as a failure.
And I may yet be the King of England, but I'm just not, right now.
Mary Cheney, the daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, is expecting a baby with her partner of 15 years, Heather Poe, Mr. Cheney’s office said today.
Focus on the Family, an influential Christian group that has provided crucial political support to President Bush, released a statement that criticized child rearing by same-sex couples.
“Mary Cheney’s pregnancy raises the question of what’s best for children,” the group’s director of issues analysis, Carrie Gordon Earll, said in a statement. “Just because it’s possible to conceive a child outside of the relationship of a married mother and father doesn’t mean it’s the best for the child. Love can’t replace a mom or a dad.”
Of course we all remember the furor during the 2004 presidential campaign when Kerry mentioned that Cheney's daughter was (gasp!) a lesbian! What a laff riot these people are.
The erudite, snide (in the best sense of the word) and let's face it verbose, trickster Michael Berube brings us this touching bit of Americana.
Just listen to this clip in which our fellow Americans express their opinions on the danger that "Barack Obama" poses to us all.
Berube, as usual, has the right take on this:
There is no hope, people, and that is why I urge you to join the We Are All Giant Nuclear Fireball Now Party. Only the WAAGNFNP has an adequate understanding of our historical moment -- and of the threat Obama poses.
Truly, I believe, there is no hope other than to join the party
This story forwarded from my friend Mark in Wonder Valley:
It hasn’t the zesty political punch of that Reagan-era effort to turn ketchup into a vegetable. But really, could there be a more unfortunate time for the Agriculture Department to banish the word “hunger” from its description of people who are, well, hungry?
Just a week before most of America sits down for that excessive meal we call the Thanksgiving feast (second- and third-day snacking while watching football is optional) came a new definition for the millions among us who are more likely to turn up at a food pantry than at a well-set dining table. They are now to be known as people with “very low food security.’’ They were previously known as “food insecure, with hunger.’’ Those who had some, but not much, more to eat were known as “food insecure, without hunger.’’ Now they’re just suffering from “low food security.’’
From the NYT Nuclear Deal With India Wins Senate Backing:
The Senate gave overwhelming approval late Thursday to President Bush’s deal for nuclear cooperation with India, a vote expressing that a goal of nurturing India as an ally outweighed concerns over the risks of spreading nuclear skills and bomb-making materials.
By a vote of 85 to 12, senators agreed to a program that would allow the United States to send nuclear fuel and technology to India, which has refused to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.The agreement, negotiated by President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India in March, calls for the United States to end a long moratorium on sales of nuclear fuel and reactor components. For its part, India would divide its reactor facilities into civilian and military nuclear programs, with civilian facilities open to international inspections.
Critics have been unwavering in arguing that the pact would rally nations like North Korea and Iran to press ahead with nuclear weapons programs despite international complaints and threats. Opponents of the measure also warned that the deal would allow India to build more bombs with its limited stockpile of radioactive material, and could spur a regional nuclear arms race with Pakistan and China.
Doesn't look like the Dems are going to put up much of a fight.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, who won re-election as an independent, has a message for his Senate colleagues in the next Congress: Call me a Democrat.
The three-term Connecticut lawmaker defied party leaders when he launched his independent bid after losing to Democrat Ned Lamont in the August primary.
So he loses the Democratic primary, foils the attempt of the real Democratic nominee, Ned Lamont, to win the election, and now Joe is going to be a Democrat again, retaining his seniority.
P.S. When I heard that Rumsfeld had "resigned" on Wednesday morning, I thought that it might be possible that Bush would appoint him Secretary of Defense, allowing the governor of Connecticut to appoint a Republican in his place, thus keeping the Dems from having a majority in the Senate. Didn't happen, but it was not outside their diabolical ways.
Actually I’m overjoyed, ecstatic, etc., etc., …
But I think that an article in the Onion puts the whole think into the right perspective:
WASHINGTON, DC—After months of aggressive campaigning and with nearly 99 percent of ballots counted, politicians were the big winners in Tuesday's midterm election, taking all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, retaining a majority with 100 out of 100 seats in the Senate, and pushing political candidates to victory in each of the 36 gubernatorial races up for grabs.
Despite fears that the dozens of campaign-finance violations, soft-money misappropriations, infidelity charges, hidden drunk-driving records, and protracted congressional cover-ups leaked just days before the election would hurt their chances, politicians were still elected over non-politicians in every single race.
Some voters, however, such as Arkansas native Patrick Bunter, who first voted for a politician—Harry Truman—in 1948, are calling this latest victory "politics as usual."
"Over the years, I grew disappointed with the job the politicians were doing, yet I kept on voting for them out of loyalty," Bunter said. "This time around, I swore I'd go with someone else, but frankly, looking at the ballot, I didn't see any other choice."
This would be funny if it wasn’t part of the pattern of people in charge going too far again …
The federal government's "no sex without marriage" message isn't just for kids anymore.
Now the government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007.
The government says the change is a clarification. But critics say it's a clear signal of a more directed policy targeting the sexual behavior of adults.
"They've stepped over the line of common sense," said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that supports sex education. "To be preaching abstinence when 90% of people are having sex is in essence to lose touch with reality. It's an ideological campaign. It has nothing to do with public health."
Wake me when its over.
The enemy still wants to strike us. The enemy still wants to achieve safe haven from which to plot and plan. The enemy would like to have weapons of mass destruction in order to attack us. These are lethal, cold-blooded killers. And we must do everything we can to protect the American people, including questioning detainees, or listening to their phone calls from outside the country to inside the country. And there was -- as you know, there was some recent votes on that issue. And the Democrats voted against giving our professionals the skill -- the tools necessary to protect the American people.
“The Democrats” have never “voted against giving our professionals the skill -- the tools necessary to protect the American people”. The issue at hand has always been to require the President to follow the law and have the authorization for wiretapping to be approved by the FISA court.
The press never asks him to justify why he is ignoring and violating the law.
This makes me crazy.
From The Register:
The US has claimed "dibs" on the Universe with its new space policy. The document, signed by President Bush, was released on a Friday, just before a long weekend in the States. This, in itself has caused a bit of a stir, but not more so than the tone and content of the document.
In it, the US government allocates itself rights to access and use space without anyone else getting in its way. It also sets security at the heart of the space agenda, frequently citing its right to use space as part of its national defence.
Significantly, however, it does not commit to restrict, or even to join talks about restricting the development of space-based weapons. This is despite a UN vote last year in which 160 nations voted in favour of such talks.
The first bullet point outlining the principles of the programme sets the tone for the rest of the document:
"The United States is committed to the exploration and use of outer space by all nations for peaceful purposes, and for the benefit of all humanity. Consistent with this principle, 'peaceful purposes' allow US defence and intelligence-related activities in pursuit of national interests."
In other words: "Everyone has to use space peacefully, except us. We can do what we like, cos we were here first. And anyway, if you try to stop us, it won't stay peaceful for long, which would spoil the first part of our principle."
Manifest Destiny redux, I guess ...
From Professor Juan Cole’s Informed Comment today.
Year One of the Empire Bush: Resistance is Illogical
Bush and a supine, cowardly Congress shredded the US Constitution on Tuesday, abolishing the right of a court review (habeas corpus) for some classes of suspect. Suspect, mind you, not proven criminal.
In other words, we have to be confident that George W. Bush is so competent, all-knowing, and inherently just that we can just trust him. If he says someone is an enemy combatant, then he or she is. No need to check with a judge about why he or she is being held. And then Bush can have the suspect tortured to make him confess, and can convict him on the basis of the coerced confession, all in secret.
This law creates two classes of persons inside the United States, citizens with rights and non-citizens (12 million persons? Equivalent to the entire state of Michigan!) without rights.
Basically, Bush can issue them what the French kings used to call lettres de cachet.:
' In French history, lettres de cachet were letters signed by the king of France, countersigned by one of his ministers, and closed with the royal seal, or cachet. They contained orders directly from the king, often to enforce arbitrary actions and judgements that could not be appealed. . .'
We Americans made a revolution against such arbitrary practices of the French and other Empires.
Article 1, Section 9 of the US Constitution says, "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."
I look out my window. I don't see a general Rebellion or an invasion by a foreign power. The conditions, under which the right of the imprisoned to demand that a court establish whether there are genuine grounds to hold him is suspended, are absent.
The law is unconstitutional.Moreover, our founding documents did not admit of a distinction among human beings with regard to rights. The Declaration of Independence says:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."
All men here means all human beings. It says they are all created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights. All of them. Not some of them.
Of course we have had these periods of neo-Monarchy and temporary insanity before in our history. There was the Alien and Sedition Act, and the Red Scare after World War I, etc.
King George came on O'Reilly and said that it is "illogical" to disagree with his policies in Iraq and branded arguments that he is drifting along without a plan "propaganda."
Bush sounds more and more like the Borg every day. I swear to God, next we are going to get up in the morning and hear him proclaim, "Resistance is futile!"
So of course eventually Bush-think will lead to attempts to cure those of us who are critical of him of our illogicality, and to suppress our "propaganda." We'll all be right-thinking non-propagandists after a little water-boarding. You say we don't have to worry about that because we are citizens? But what is to stop Bush from declaring you an enemy combatant and stripping you of your citizenship? And then keeping you away from any civil court where those letters of cachet can be challenged?
The Republic is Dead, Long Live the Republic.
You want a resurrection of the Republic?
Read this sobering article Truthdig - Reports - Chris Hedges: Bush‘s Nuclear Apocalypse:
The aircraft carrier Eisenhower, accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio, guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage, guided-missile destroyer USS Mason and the fast-attack submarine USS Newport News, is, as I write, making its way to the Straits of Hormuz off Iran. The ships will be in place to strike Iran by the end of the month. It may be a bluff. It may be a feint. It may be a simple show of American power. But I doubt it.
War with Iran - a war that would unleash an apocalyptic scenario in the Middle East - is probable by the end of the Bush administration. It could begin in as little as three weeks. This administration, claiming to be anointed by a Christian God to reshape the world, and especially the Middle East, defined three states at the start of its reign as “the Axis of Evil.“ They were Iraq, now occupied; North Korea, which, because it has nuclear weapons, is untouchable; and Iran. Those who do not take this apocalyptic rhetoric seriously have ignored the twisted pathology of men like Elliott Abrams, who helped orchestrate the disastrous and illegal contra war in Nicaragua, and who now handles the Middle East for the National Security Council. He knew nothing about Central America. He knows nothing about the Middle East. He sees the world through the childish, binary lens of good and evil, us and them, the forces of darkness and the forces of light. And it is this strange, twilight mentality that now grips most of the civilian planners who are barreling us towards a crisis of epic proportions.
These men advocate a doctrine of permanent war, a doctrine which, as William R. Polk points out, is a slight corruption of Leon Trotsky’s doctrine of permanent revolution. These two revolutionary doctrines serve the same function, to intimidate and destroy all those classified as foreign opponents, to create permanent instability and fear and to silence domestic critics who challenge leaders in a time of national crisis. It works. The citizens of the United States, slowly being stripped of their civil liberties, are being herded sheep-like, once again, over a cliff.
MADISON — A congressional candidate from northwestern Wisconsin says airport security screeners should search all Muslim males. Paul Nelson, a Woodville Republican, issued a statement Monday calling for a "no-nonsense" plan for airport security. "Racial profiling is one way that we can cut down on security risks," Nelson said in an interview with WIXK Radio in New Richmond. Part of the interview was posted on Wisconsin Radio Network's Web site. "It's time to stop being politically correct here and be serious and tough on the war on terror." When asked how to tell what a Muslim male looks like, Nelson replied: "Well, you know, if he comes in wearing a turban and his name is Muhammed, that's a good start."
The American Way at its finest!
Recently I posted that Bush stated "… we have given our officials the tools they need to protect our people".
It however seems more important that we retain our "moral purity" by keeping gays out of the military, than retaining badly needed Arabic language skills.
The U.S. Army recently discharged a highly regarded Arabic linguist who was the target of an anonymous email “outing” campaign. Former Sergeant Bleu Copas was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., and was a member of the prestigious 82nd Airborne Division. A decorated Sergeant who received impressive performance reviews, Copas also performed in the 82nd Airborne Chorus. His dismissal, under the federal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel, brings the total number of Arabic language specialists dismissed under the ban to at least 55. Neither Copas nor his command know who was the source of the email campaign.
Following Ned Lamont's victory over Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic senatorial primary, the GOP posted the following image on the front page of their website.
Follow this link and you can clearly see that the party whose leader campaigned for President as being a "uniter, not a divider", initially posted the image with the photo of Democratic party leader Howard Dean manipulated so that he would appear with a Hitlerian mustache. After they were caught, they modified the photograph to remove the "enhancement".
Lovely folks, huh?
From Steven Berlin Johnson's blog on the argument that anti-Iraq-war advocates, specifically the Democrats should be making:
This plot demonstrates the seriousness of the threat posed against us, and, if all the early indications prove to be right, the continuing existence of the Al Qaeda network. It also demonstrates that top-notch law enforcement work, coupled with international collaboration -- and, yes, some wire-tapping -- can truly make us safer. If we had been in charge after 9/11, we would have devoted our military and law enforcement resources exclusively to tracking down Islamic terror networks, with the highest priority given to hunting down Osama Bin Laden. We wouldn't have introduced the huge distraction of Iraq, which has both been a terrible drain on resources and lives, and made us many new enemies in regions where we need more friends. If you elect us this fall, we promise a renewed focus on the enemies that actually threaten us directly. While we can't immediately withdraw from Iraq, we propose a steady re-allocation of manpower and money from Iraq to the immediate threats on American lives. We believe in the war on terror just as firmly as the Republicans do. We just think it should concentrate on capturing terrorists, not rebuilding the electrical grid in Bagdhad.
Couldn't agree more.
Yep, but it could all be over on August 22.
Better cancel those holidays. We now have a date for Armageddon, and it's a week on Tuesday - August 22.
This information comes from no lesser source than the Wall Street Journal, where Bernard Lewis, President Bush's favourite historian, provides the details.
"In Islam, as in Judaism and Christianity," the professor writes, "there are certain beliefs concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time - Gog and Magog, anti-Christ, Armageddon, and for Shiite Muslims, the long-awaited return of the Hidden Imam, ending in the final victory of the forces of good over evil, however these may be defined.
"Mr Ahmadinejad [the Iranian president] and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced. It may even have a date, indicated by several references by the Iranian president to giving his final answer to the US about nuclear development by August 22. This was at first reported as 'by the end of August', but Mr Ahmadinejad's statement was more precise."
Lewis continues: "What is the significance of August 22? This year, August 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to 'the farthest mosque', usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (cf, Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and, if necessary, of the world."
From Bush's statement today on this morning's regarding the discovery of the plot to blow up airplanes:
This country is safer than it was prior to 9/11. We've taken a lot of measures to protect the American people. But obviously, we're still not completely safe, because there are people that still plot and people who want to harm us for what we believe in. It is a mistake to believe there is no threat to the United States of America. And that is why we have given our officials the tools they need to protect our people.
I emphasize his statement: "It is a mistake to believe there is no threat to the United States of America." … who exactly is it that is saying that there is not a threat posed by terrorists? No one of course. Yet again Bush makes a straw man argument to try and make people believe that his approach is infallible and the only one true course of action, and the comment passes through the media with no challenge or comment. I've posted on this tendency before.
It is great that the powers that be in Britain are "on the case" and have apparently thwarted this plot. They are doing their jobs, and any responsible government would be doing the same. And it deserves attention in the news. But really now, where is the perspective. I have looked at CNN and MSNBC this morning and it appears to be the only news that is happening in the world. This is a disturbing and all too familiar phenomenon. Just like the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah has pushed the civil war in Iraq (which was already sorely under-reported) out of the media's attention, now today's event has pushed everything else out of view.
Brilliant! Click the link for more.
Amnesty International in Switzerland broke a new outdoor campaign May 29th that was created by Walker Werbeagentur Zuerich. The campaign uses the tagline "It's not happening here but it's happening now", in various languages, from French to German. Using the transparent billboards, the campaign aims to show people what is going on in the world, even if it's not happening in front of them at the bus stop. The ads portray issues in countries like Iraq, China, and Sudan.
I suppose that the issue of illegal immigration is "important", but I really doubt that it is truly timely and in any case it seems to me that it is more about an ugly xenophobia rather than about real problems. If I were to list the most important issues that we as a nation should be addressing, illegal immigration would not rise to anywhere near the top of the list. Global warming, universal health care, nuclear proliferation, the war in Iraq, homelessness, hunger ... I could go on and on before I would reach the immigration issue. But Bush and his ilk are way down in the polls and they is grasping at straws to pander to "the base" in hopes that the 2006 mid-term elections and I suppose his legacy are not a disaster. Too late for that methinks.
This post by David Corn, Good Fences and Lousy Reading Comprehension, speaks well to the the cheapness of the debate and points out that the frequent mentions of the phrase "good fences make good neighbors" abuse the sense that the line as it is used in Robert Frost's poem, "The Mending Wall":
… I doubt he had the US-Mexico border in mind when he penned these lines. But he was clearly wondering about a fellow who clings so solidly to the idea of a wall. Frost's "good fences make good neighbors" line was no policy prescription. It was an illumination of the human tendency to embrace and then stick with a simple and comforting thought.
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.'
I just really, really like the tile of this article,
Americans don't like President Bush personally much anymore, either
WASHINGTON - It's not just the way he's doing his job. Americans apparently don't like President Bush personally much anymore, either.
A drop in his personal popularity, as measured by several public polls, has shadowed the decline in Bush's job-approval ratings and weakened his political armor when he and his party need it most.
Following from last week's revelations that virtually all telephone calls are being logged, for "national security data mining" purposes, Billmon blogs on the ever more apparent, evolving police state that we are living under in his tour de force, or should I say a justifiable tour de paranoia, titled Leviathan:
Leviathan, in other words, is almost free of any restraint, save the arbitrary limits - such as they may be - set by the Cheney administration or, perhaps more importantly, by custom and habit. The creature doesn't know all the things it can do, but only because it hasn't tried to do them yet. But it's starting to figure this out, and it's going to take more than an election and a few corruption probes to make it back down. Having entrusted their security and their liberties to the beast, Leviathan's subjects will be lucky not to wind up like Jonah, lodged in its belly.
He ends by citing polling data that shows that a very large chunk of the populace would rather be "protected":
Carroll Doherty, associate director of the Pew Research Center, said in repeated polls taken since Sept. 11, 2001, "a solid plurality, around 50 percent" continues to say they would rather the government went too far in restricting civil liberties than not going far enough in protecting the country.
"There's a concern about terrorism that continues to this day. And, on balance, people are saying, `protect us,'" said Doherty.
Neil Young's latest album is, to me, in the tradition of Tom Paine's pamphlets in railing against tyranny ... in this case, the war in Iraq and Bush and his gang. The music is energetic and the lyrics speak right to the point. Song titles include Let's Impeach The President, Looking For A Leader. The record closes with a 100 voice choir singing, somewhat cheesily in my mind, but effectively to make a point, America The Beautiful.
Its encouraging to see that many musicians are making records that speak to the dire straights we are in today. Young, acting as the elder statesman that he has become, continuing his tradition of speaking out that started with "Ohio"; remember "Tin soldiers and Nixon coming ... Four dead in O-hi-o". While he lapsed in the '80s in professing support for Reagan ... I am willing to forgive him for that. If nothing else, Neil Young is sincere.
The preznit in an interview with Germany's largest mass-circulation newspapers, Bild-Zeitung, displays his grasp (not) of history, his self-absorbtion and sense of personal manifest destiny. While giving a tour of the Oval Office to the reporter he says:
That's George Washington, the first President, of course. The interesting thing about him is that I read three -- three or four books about him last year. Isn't that interesting? People say, so what? Well, here's the "so what." You never know what your history is going to be like until long after you're gone. If they're still analyzing the presidency of George Washington -- (laughter.) So Presidents shouldn't worry about the history. You just can't. You do what you think is right, and if you're thinking big enough, that history will eventually prove you right or wrong. But you won't know in the short-term.
You can read the whole car crash, which is painful to read but very instructive here.
From Reversing The Sexual Revolution in The Washington Monthly:
Since 1996, thanks to the Republican addition of Section 912 to that year's welfare reform bill, the federal government has spent over a billion dollars funding "abstinence only" sex education programs for teens. Recently, however, the Bush administration rewrote the rules so that programs can only get funding if they promote avoidance of sex at any age until you're safely ensconced in a traditional marriage of one man and one woman.
That's ONE BILLION DOLLARS, folks ... IN YOUR COUNTRY, to promote, and they hope (hopelessly, I hope), enforce this stupidity.
My dentist, who I have been going to for twenty years is in Burbank. I call him the "Dentist To The Stars" because his offices are near many movie and television studios and there are frequently "persons of note" who use his services. Not too long ago I ran into Smokey Robinson in the hallway! "Hey" to Smoke, if you're out there in the blogosphere!
Being the office of the DTTS, the accommodations are deluxe and each dental chair has a flat screen television attached to it with full cable access. I could have watched anything but this morning at 7:30 AM, after I showed up for my appointment to repair a filling, and filling in the time that the DTTS was seeing other patients (i.e., late for mine!) I was presented with President Bush's news conference.
Here's an excerpt from today's press conference where the now not so secret but illegal NSA wiretaps are questioned:
Q …. On the subject of the terrorist surveillance program --
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q -- not to change the tone from all this emphasis on bipartisanship, but there have been now three sponsors to a measure to censure you for the Implementation of that program. The primary sponsor, Russ Feingold, has suggested that impeachment is not out of the question. And on Sunday, the number two Democrat in the Senate refused to rule that out pending an investigation. What, sir, do you think the impact of the discussion of Impeachment and censure does to you and this office, and to the nation during a time of war, and in the context of the election?
THE PRESIDENT: I think during these difficult times -- and they are difficult when we're at war -- he American people expect there to be a honest and open debate without needless partisanship. And that's how I view it. I did notice that nobody from the Democrat Party has actually stood up and called for getting rid of the terrorist surveillance program. You know, if that's what they believe, if people in the party believe that, then they ought to stand up and say it. They ought to stand up and say the tools we're using to protect the American people shouldn't be used. They ought to take their message to the people and say, vote for me, I promise we're not going to have a terrorist surveillance program. That's what they ought to be doing. That's part of what is an open and honest debate.
OK, so one would reasonably expect a follow up question calling Bush on the fact the no Democrat has called for "getting rid of the terrorist surveillance program", but they are calling him on breaking the oversight law in conducting surveillance. But no ... no follow-up. And since I was sitting in the chair for so long, will no impending drilling, I got to flip over to a cable news channel. The issue of Bush being asked about Feingold's censure motion was mentioned, but they passed over the the fact that Bush didn't address the real issue and that the reporters at the press conference let him slide. Maddening!
There was an excellent story that came over the AP last Saturday that called Bush on his use of "straw-man" statements:
"Some look at the challenges in Iraq and conclude that the war is lost and not worth another dime or another day," President Bush said recently.
Another time he said, "Some say that if you're Muslim you can't be free."
"There are some really decent people," the president said earlier this year, "who believe that the federal government ought to be the decider of health care ... for all people."
Of course, hardly anyone in mainstream political debate has made such assertions.
When the president starts a sentence with "some say" or offers up what "some in Washington" believe, as he is doing more often these days, a rhetorical retort almost assuredly follows.
The device usually is code for Democrats or other White House opponents. In describing what they advocate, Bush often omits an important nuance or substitutes an extreme stance that bears little resemblance to their actual position.
He typically then says he "strongly disagrees" — conveniently knocking down a straw man of his own making.
By the way, my mouth is still numb.
As reported by NPR today and transcribed by Raw Story former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor gives some straight talk about the trend towards attacking our judiciary:
I, said O'Connor, am against judicial reforms driven by nakedly partisan reasoning. Pointing to the experiences of developing countries and former communist countries where interference with an independent judiciary has allowed dictatorship to flourish, O'Connor said we must be ever-vigilant against those who would strongarm the judiciary into adopting their preferred policies. It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, she said, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings.
Recently after a flight in Australia, seminal punk rock pioneer and spoken word artist Henry Rollins received a letter from a bureaucrat who had been reviewing citizen's reports from the "National Security Hotline to report terrorists" informing him that a fellow passenger "nominated (him) as a possible threat", because Rollins was seen reading Jihad: The Rise Of Militant Islam In Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid, published by Yale University Press.
Rollins, true to himself responded to the letter:
I was reading a book called Jihad by Ahmed Rashid which is a history of Central Asia. I didn't speak to the man next to me past how do you do. I think Ahmed Rashid is published by Yale University Press. Bush's alma mater. Please tell your government and everyone in your office to go fuck themselves. Tell them twice. If your boss is looking for something to do, you can tell him I suggest he go fuck himself. Baghdad's safer than my hometown and your PM is a sissy. You have a nice night.
This incident recalled this passage from Orwell's 1984:
The quacking voice from the next table, temporarily silenced during the Ministry's announcement, had started up again, as loud as ever. For some reason Winston found himself thinking of Mrs. Parsons, with her wispy hair and the dust in the creases in her face. Within two years those children would be reporting her to the Thought Police. Mrs. Parsons would be vaporized.
Just a reminder everyone ... watch your step. Our "leaders" are training the populace well.
A new blog has appeared over the past few months, written by constitutional attorney Glenn Greenwald, called Unclaimed Territory. Recently he has been focusing on the NSA surveillance scandal, and his posts are comprehensive, rigorous and enlightening. Being an attorney (and believe me I've known my share of them) Mr. Greenwald is frequently quite verbose but never superfluous. This is not meant so much as a criticism, but as a caveat to my recommendation to his blog which requires the reader to be prepared in engage in reading his fully reasoned posts.
A good example of his posts is The Long Hard Slog which reasons that the challenge to BushCo's abuses of power will not be resolved and corrected easily but that the fight must go on or it will fail.:
There are lots of people who appear to be morbidly depressed -- to the point of conceding defeat -- as a result of yesterday’s unilateral obstruction by the incomparable White House shill Sen. Pat Roberts of the long-planned and long-promised investigation into the operational aspects of the NSA program by the Senate Intelligence Committee. That defeatist reaction and the borderline-self-pitying sentiments which accompany it are, for literally countless reasons, completely unwarranted.
There is enormous potential for this scandal to grow, but that will only happen if people who believe that Presidential law-breaking is a serious threat remain resolute about making it grow and believe that they can contribute to its growth. Dick Cheney lobbied so hard to prevent the Intelligence Committee from investigating precisely because they want to create the appearance that this scandal is dying. That will happen only if people allow it to die, only if Bush opponents internalize the notion that they will inevitably lose because everything is against them and there is no way to change that.
This is blogging at its best. I've included Unclaimed Territory in my list of links for your easy reference.
From Editor & Publisher's More Questions Raised About Delay in Reporting Cheney Misfire:
The more than 18-hour delay in news emerging that the Vice President of the United States had shot a man, sending him to an intensive care unit with his wounds, grew even more curious late Sunday. E&P has learned that the official confirmation of the shooting came about only after a local reporter in Corpus Christi, Texas, received a tip from the owner of the property where the shooting occured and called Vice President Cheney's office for confirmation.
The confirmation was made but there was no indication whether the Vice President's office, the White House, or anyone else intended to announce the shooting if the reporter, Jaime Powell of the Corpus Christ Caller-Times, had not received word from the ranch owner.
Needless to say, if this was a Democratic VP, the Republicans and the media would be screaming bloody murder.
From The Progressive website:
VA Nurse Investigated for “Sedition” for Criticizing Bush
Laura Berg is a clinical nurse specialist at the VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, where she has worked for 15 years.
Shortly after Katrina, she wrote a letter to the editor of the weekly paper the Alibi criticizing the Bush Administration.
After the paper published the letter in its September 15-21 issue, VA administrators seized her computer, alleged that she had written the letter on that computer, and accused her of “sedition.”
Here’s what her letter said.
“I am furious with the tragically misplaced priorities and criminal negligence of this government,” it began. “The Katrina tragedy in the U.S. shows that the emperor has no clothes!” She mentioned that she was “a VA nurse” working with returning vets. “The public has no sense of the additional devastating human and financial costs of post-traumatic stress disorder,” she wrote, and she worried about the hundreds of thousands of additional cases that might result from Katrina and the Iraq War.
“Bush, Cheney, Chertoff, Brown, and Rice should be tried for criminal negligence,” she wrote. “This country needs to get out of Iraq now and return to our original vision and priorities of caring for land and people and resources rather than killing for oil. . . . We need to wake up and get real here, and act forcefully to remove a government administration playing games of smoke and mirrors and vicious deceit.
Otherwise, many more of us will be facing living hell in these times.”
After her computer was seized, Berg wrote a memo to her bosses seeking information and an explanation.
Mel Hooker, chief of the human resources management service at the Albuquerque VA, wrote Berg back on November 9 and acknowledged that “your personal computer files did not contain the editorial letter written to the editor of the weekly Alibi.”
But rather than apologize, he leveled the sedition charge: “The Agency is bound by law to investigate and pursue any act which potentially represents sedition,” he said. “In your letter . . . you declared yourself ‘as a VA nurse’ and publicly declared the Government which employs you to have ‘tragically misplaced priorities and criminal negligence’ and advocated, ‘act forcefully to remove a government administration playing games of smoke and mirrors and vicious deceit.’ ”
The ACLU in New Mexico is defending Ms. Berg.
Just one more story in the attempt of the current government to control our speech and thoughts and rule by fear.
"I come from a rather conservative Episcopal parish," Bush said. "And I haven't seen anything like this in my life."
BushCo tells us that we are in war that is "different" from anything we have ever fought before and places this war above all other priorites. The administration and its supporters use this apparently to-be-endless state of war to justify: circumventing important aspects our liberties, the president being above the law, the expenditure of what will be at least one trillion dollars and the killing of Americans and Iraqis in a war of choice that is un-related to the action of the 9/11 terrorists.
The events of 9/11 were tragic and deserve to have a profound effect on the world’s thinking. Undoubtedly there will be other terrorist acts in the future. But while this is fact of life in the 21st century there needs to be rational thought applied to our circumstances.
Historian Joseph J. Ellis wrties an op-ed piece in Saturday's New York Times.
... where does Sept. 11 rank in the grand sweep of American history as a threat to national security? By my calculations it does not make the top tier of the list, which requires the threat to pose a serious challenge to the survival of the American republic.
Here is my version of the top tier: the War for Independence, where defeat meant no United States of America; the War of 1812, when the national capital was burned to the ground; the Civil War, which threatened the survival of the Union; World War II, which represented a totalitarian threat to democracy and capitalism; the cold war, most specifically the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, which made nuclear annihilation a distinct possibility.
Sept. 11 does not rise to that level of threat because, while it places lives and lifestyles at risk, it does not threaten the survival of the American republic, even though the terrorists would like us to believe so.
What Patrick Henry once called "the lamp of experience" needs to be brought into the shadowy space in which we have all been living since Sept. 11. My tentative conclusion is that the light it sheds exposes the ghosts and goblins of our traumatized imaginations. It is completely understandable that those who lost loved ones on that date will carry emotional scars for the remainder of their lives. But it defies reason and experience to make Sept. 11 the defining influence on our foreign and domestic policy. History suggests that we have faced greater challenges and triumphed, and that overreaction is a greater danger than complacency.
Wise words. Wouldn’t it be great if instead of criticism of the administration being considered sacrilege and off-limits, a rational discussion could take place? “ You may say I’m a dreamer ...” - la la la.
BushCo keeps trying to justify their illegal wiretapping and each day the explanations get more and more absurd. The justifications for their actions change and expand from day to day.
In a press conference on january 23, General Michael V. Hayden, former head of the National Security Agency, serving at the time that the Bush administration started its illegal wiretapping, appears to be ignorant of the Constitution's requirement that searches need to be based on "probable cause". From Daily Kos :
GEN. HAYDEN . . . Just to be very clear -- and believe me, if there's any amendment to the Constitution that employees of the National Security Agency are familiar with, it's the Fourth. And it is a reasonableness standard in the Fourth Amendment. And so what you've raised to me -- and I'm not a lawyer, and don't want to become one -- what you've raised to me is, in terms of quoting the Fourth Amendment, is an issue of the Constitution. The constitutional standard is "reasonable." And we believe -- I am convinced that we are lawful because what it is we're doing is reasonable."
And the text of the Fourth Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
... the Administration had already been engaging in eavesdropping outside of the parameters of FISA, and yet the DoJ itself was expressing serious doubts about the constitutionality of that eavesdropping and even warned that engaging in it might harm national security because it would jeopardize prosecutions against terrorists. Put another way, the DoJ was concerned that it might be unconstitutional to eavesdrop with a lower standard than probable cause even as the Administration was doing exactly that.
BushCo is justifying their actions in any way they can, even if they contratdict each other. In a "reality-based" world this should lead to their being called to account, but what are the chances of that ?
I saw this bumper sticker on a car today:
Note that the sticker on the other end of this minivan's bumper was for KPFK.
Apparently this is a part of a larger campaign to subvert our nation's babies.
Back in junior high school we all learned “how a bill becomes a law”. Well folks, it appears that things apparently don’t operate as we were taught. From the Washington Post:
In the 1980s, the Reagan administration, like other White Houses before and after, chafed at the reality that Congress's reach on the meaning of laws extends beyond the words of statutes passed on Capitol Hill. Judges may turn to the trail of statements lawmakers left behind in the Congressional Record when trying to glean the intent behind a law. The White House left no comparable record.
In a Feb. 5, 1986, draft memo, (current Supreme Court Nominee Samuel) Alito, then deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel, outlined a strategy for changing that. It laid out a case for having the president routinely issue statements about the meaning of statutes when he signs them into law.
Such "interpretive signing statements" would be a significant departure from run-of-the-mill bill signing pronouncements, which are "often little more than a press release," Alito wrote. The idea was to flag constitutional concerns and get courts to pay as much attention to the president's take on a law as to "legislative intent."
"Since the president's approval is just as important as that of the House or Senate, it seems to follow that the president's understanding of the bill should be just as important as that of Congress," Alito wrote. He later added that "by forcing some rethinking by courts, scholars, and litigants, it may help to curb some of the prevalent abuses of legislative history."
President Bush has been especially fond of them, issuing at least 108 in his first term, according to presidential scholar Phillip J. Cooper of Portland State University in Oregon.
The Bush administration "has very effectively expanded the scope and character of the signing statement not only to address specific provisions of legislation that the White House wishes to nullify, but also in an effort to significantly reposition and strengthen the powers of the presidency relative to the Congress," Cooper wrote ..
Bush may be acting without fanfare for a reason. As Alito noted in his memo, the statements "will not be warmly welcomed" on Capitol Hill.
"The novelty of the procedure and the potential increase of presidential power are two factors that may account for this anticipated reaction," he wrote. "In addition, and perhaps most important, Congress is likely to resent the fact that the president will get in the last word on questions of interpretation."
As I read this, it is further evidence that we truly are moving towards a government in which BushCo does what ever it thinks right and ignores the laws passed by the legislative branch whenever it suits them.
For example read “Bush could bypass new torture ban“ from the Boston Globe.
It gets scarier every day. Will these guys ever be held accountable?
During the King's Christmas vacation he visits the troops. From Maureen Dowd's column (requires NYT subscription):
He left the ranch for a brief visit at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where he kidded in a way that again showed his jarring lack of empathy with the amputees from Iraq and Afghanistan: "As you can possibly see, I have an injury myself - not here at the hospital, but in combat with a cedar. I eventually won. The cedar gave me a little scratch. As a matter of fact, the colonel asked if I needed first aid when she first saw me. I was able to avoid any major surgical operations here, but thanks for your compassion, colonel."
See this video posted at Crooks and Liars, showing example after example of Bush and Cheney assuring everyone that wiretapping requires a court order. Now that they have been caught with their pants down, BushCo is using other justifications, centered essentially on lies that Congress OK'ed the warrantless eavesdropping and that the Constitution gives the Commander in Chief virtually unlimited powers during "times of war". An apparently Owellian war without end.
Through the years I have been personally concerned that the powers that be will come after their opponents and have collected information to that end. We are now, again, seeing concrete evidence that this is true. The Defense Department collects information on PETA, vegans, the Quakers, anti-war protesters, and on and on. Bush, due to abysmal poll numbers agrees to not press against anti-torture amendments ... but it is becoming clear that he will do whatever he wants, even if it against the law and the Constitution.
I have always admired my activist friends who are so much bolder than me in speaking out and acting out. In my small way, with contributions to groups, writing letters to legislators and newspapers, and now with this blog, I trust that I actually have the freedom to do so, without retribution. But there is much risk in doing so, as is evidenced by the breathtaking arrogance that the administration has exhibited since day one. Who knows what they do if and when their back is really against the wall?
This is a presidency that was put in power under dubious circumstances five years ago, with fewer popular votes than Al Gore and with the connivance of a Republican Supreme Court. It then took that lack of mandate and has governed as "dividers, not uniters". It has then used the circumstance of 9/11 to justify broad abuses of power and is trampling on the rights of the citizens of this country, alienating people around the world who should be our friends and wreaking death and destruction in Iraq.
I am afraid.
A good question is raised by Josh Marshal at Talking Points Memo:
When was the last time there was a major terror alert? They were something like a regular occurence for the eighteen months or so before the 2004 election. And through 2004 the administration pushed the line that al Qaida was aiming to disrupt the elections themselves. But as near I can tell there hasn't been a single one since election day.
Through 2004, of course, critics of the administration routinely questioned whether the frequency and timing of the various terror alerts were not all or in part for political effect.
How do we explain what appears to be a night and day difference between the year prior to November 2004 and the year since in terms of terror alerts and scares?
The topics on this blog are usually dour, skeptical, cynical and depressing. This past week however has brought some welcome "good news" and I thought I'd cheer us all up by recapping some of it.
First, the attempt to tack on authorization of the Arctic oil drilling outrage to a defense appropriations bill was blocked. See poor Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska (who recently refused to swear in oil company executives at a Senate hearing, and days later the executives were found to have lied about their participation in Cheney's energy policy cabal) proclaim that yesterday was “the saddest
day of my life“. Boo hoo.
Next, while it pains me to see our civil liberties abused as is being exposed with revelations regarding the Cheny administration’s warrantless, illegal and unconstitutional domestic phone taps, it encourages me that so much attention and seriousness is being paid to this outrage.
There are two explanations for the Bush administration's failure to stay within the boundaries of the legal structures for which it's bargained: One is that the administration believes it is fighting this war on its own; the courts, the Congress, and the American people are all standing in its way. The other is that the administration is convinced that none of our statutes or policies or systems will actually work in a pinch. Our laws aren't just broken. They are unfixable.
So, which is it? Does the Bush administration refuse to honor its legislative and constitutional bargains with Congress, the courts, and the American people because it believes we are all just getting in its way? Or does it sidestep us because it believes that all these trappings of a democracy—the courts and the laws and public accountability are broken and unfixable? The first possibility is grandiose and depressing. The latter is absolutely breathtaking.
The Administration's attitude is neatly summed up by this post (shamefully lifted in total by me) from Billmon
Q: If FISA didn't work, why didn't you seek a new statute that allowed something like this legally?
GONZALES: That question was asked earlier. We've had discussions with members of Congress, certain members of Congress, about whether or not we could get an amendment to FISA, and we were advised that that was not likely to be -- that was not something we could likely get, certainly not without jeopardizing the existence of the program, and therefore, killing the program. And that -- and so a decision was made that because we felt that the authorities were there, that we should continue moving forward with this program.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
December 19, 2005
GOLD HAT: We are Federales . . . You know, the mounted police.
DOBBS: If you're the police, where are your badges?
GOLD HAT: [puzzled pause] "Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges! [angry] I don't have to show you any stinking badges!
Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Next, I was overjoyed when our Dear Leader was "forced" to go along with Senator McCain's anti torture provision after he previously had vowed to veto any legislation containing such directives.
And finally, readers of this blog will know what a warm spot (NOT!) in my heart that I hold for proponents of so-called Intelligent Design. Therefore I feel their pain (at least to the degree that they have been causing pain to me) when the decision in the Kitzmiller v. Dover lawsuit was handed down earlier this week, denying the teaching of creationism disguised as psudo-science in the classroom. Judge Jones, in his 139 page decision (which I am joyfully working my way through) states:
The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.
There is more, much more going on that suggest that the wheels may be coming off of BushCo's train. and the radical right is losing some of their traction. Here's to a hopeful 2006 !!!
From Frank Rich’s column in the NYT (unfortunately behind a paid subscription wall) today:
When a government substitutes propaganda for governing, the Potemkin village is all. Since we don't get honest information from this White House, we must instead, as the Soviets once did, decode our rulers' fictions to discern what's really happening. What we're seeing now is the wheels coming off: As the administration's stagecraft becomes more baroque, its credibility tanks further both at home and abroad. The propaganda techniques may be echt Goebbels, but they increasingly come off as pure Ali G.
Also from an item in the NYT titled Dear Great Leader:
The government of Pakistan was embarrassed to learn that an English textbook for teenagers contains an anonymous ode, in which the first letters of each line spell "President Bush." The poem, "The Leader," appeared in Britain's Guardian newspaper:
Patient and steady with all he must bear,
Ready to accept every challenge with care,
Easy in manner, yet solid as steel,
Strong in his faith, refreshingly real,
Isn't afraid to propose what is bold,
Doesn't conform to the usual mold,
Eyes that have foresight, for hindsight won't do
Never back down when he sees what is true
Tells it all straight, and means it all too
Bracing for war, but praying for peace
Using his power so evil will cease:
So much a leader and worthy of trust,
Here stands a man who will do what he must.
A new online magazine promises to be a great source of in depth analysis of current event and issues. Among the key contributors is Robert Scheer, who I have posted about previously.
The purpose of our new Web magazine is to provide you with insightful and accurate reporting on current subjects and on issues that need to be brought to your attention. We want to challenge conventional wisdom. Over time, we hope to build a solid and reliable resource for those of you who want to explore particular topics by drilling down to unusual depth. In addition, we hope to create a home for thoughtful, provocative ideas and dialogue by a group of talented contributors and editors.
Only in its first week of publication, Truthdig has already published some great articles.
After thirty years as a reporter and columnist at the Los Angeles Times (link intentionally NOT provided), Robert Scheer will no longer appear on their op-ed pages. As Scheer explains in a post on the Huffington Post:
On Friday I was fired as a columnist by the publisher of the Los Angeles Times, where I have worked for thirty years. The publisher, Jeff Johnson, who has offered not a word of explanation to me, has privately told people that he hated every word that I wrote. I assume that mostly refers to my exposing the lies used by President Bush to justify the invasion of Iraq.
Fortunately sixty percent of Americans now get the point, but only after tens of thousand of Americans and Iraqis have been killed and maimed as the carnage spirals out of control. My only regret is that my pen was not sharper and my words tougher.
Starting Wednesday morning, my column will be appearing here on the Huffington Post.
This telling act follows a few months after the Times dismissed Michael Kinsley as editorial page editor. Kinsley as a commentator and an early innovator in the field of web magazine publishing at Slate as its founding editor, had a brought a sense of freshness and experimentation to the Times op-ed pages.
So, you can look for Scheer at HuffPo or listen to him on KCRW's Left, Right and Center, via KCRW's site if you are outside of its broadcast area. I also hear that Scheer will also resurface as founder of TruthDig. I'll keep you posted.
The problem is economic and having to do with economic and residential exclusionism, not with an "unassimilable" "immigrant" minority.
The erudite and sensible Juan Cole, is a scholar who has provided a running education for me on the realities in Iraq during the war. Here he gives an excellent, if somewhat lengthy, explanation on the background of the current rioting around Paris.
I've added a link to his Informed Comment site on my blogroll for your on-going edification.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Muhammad Ali, his hands shaking and eyes reflecting the White House chandeliers, accepted the nation's highest civilian award from President Bush on Wednesday.
Bush called him "the Greatest of All Time" and "a man of peace," and tied the Presidential Medal of Freedom around the former heavyweight champion's neck.
The world's biggest retailer and the US Secret Service working together to make America safe.
(A teacher, Selina) Jarvis assigned her senior civics and economics class "to take photographs to illustrate their rights in the Bill of Rights," she says. One student "had taken a photo of George Bush out of a magazine and tacked the picture to a wall with a red thumb tack through his head. Then he made a thumb's-down sign with his own hand next to the President's picture, and he had a photo taken of that, and he pasted it on a poster."
According to Jarvis, the student, who remains anonymous, was just doing his assignment, illustrating the right to dissent. But over at the Kitty Hawk Wal-Mart, where the student took his film to be developed, this right is evidently suspect.
An employee in that Wal-Mart photo department called the Kitty Hawk police on the student. And the Kitty Hawk police turned the matter over to the Secret Service. On Tuesday, September 20, the Secret Service came to Currituck High.
Full story here.
The United States spends 47% of the world's total military budget and more than the next forty highest spending countries ... combined!
Chart source www.infoplease.com.
Moral "paragon"/hypocrite Bill Bennett fantasizes:
"I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.
Yeah, it would be "tricky".
From Media Matters for America which monitors "a cross section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets for conservative misinformation -- news or commentary that is not accurate, reliable, or credible and that forwards the conservative agenda -- every day, in real time".
For those who think that we are in a post racist world because George W. Bush appointed blacks to his cabinet, think again. The modern Republican Party was built on the back of an enduring national divide on the issue of race. George Bush may not personally be racist (or more likely not know he's racist) but the party he leads has depended on it for many years. The coded language that signals tribal ID has obscured it, but don't kid yourselves. It is a party that became dominant by exploiting the deep cultural fault of the mason dixon line.
Read the entire post at Hullabaloo.
NEW ORLEANS—Throughout the Gulf Coast, Caucasian suburbanites attempting to gather food and drink in the shattered wreckage of shopping districts have reported seeing African Americans "looting snacks and beer from damaged businesses." "I was in the abandoned Wal-Mart gathering an air mattress so I could float out the potato chips, beef jerky, and Budweiser I'd managed to find," said white survivor Lars Wrightson, who had carefully selected foodstuffs whose salt and alcohol content provide protection against contamination. "Then I look up, and I see a whole family of [African-Americans] going straight for the booze. Hell, you could see they had already looted a fortune in diapers." Radio stations still in operation are advising store owners and white people in the affected areas to locate firearms in sporting-goods stores in order to protect themselves against marauding blacks looting gun shops.
Enjoy The Onion for great satire, with a new issue every Wednesday.
A tip of the Eclectic Times chapeau to Catherine P. for suggesting this "news" item.
Nature vs. Nurture for Our Leader? Here's a case study in what a "good" upbringing can lead to.
From the matriarch of the Bush clan:
At a tour of hurricane relief centers in Houston, Barbara Bush said today, referring to the poor who had lost everything back home and evacuated, "This is working very well for them."
"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this -- this [she chuckles slightly] is working very well for them."
This from the women who also said:
Why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it's gonna happen? It's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?
How is it possible that with the fourth anniversary of 9/11 almost upon us, the federal government doesn't have in hand the capability to prepare for and then manage a large urban disaster, natural or man-made? In terms of the challenge to government, there is little difference between a terrorist attack that wounds many people and renders a significant portion of a city uninhabitable, and the fallout this week from the failure of one of New Orleans' major levees. Indeed, a terrorist could have chosen a levee for his target. Or a dirty-bomb attack in New Orleans could have caused the same sort of forced evacuation we are seeing and the widespread sickness that is likely to follow.
From a Slate magazine article titled Department of Homeland Screw-Up - What is the Bush administration doing? By Tim Naftali
I saw Bush's speech today with Clinton and Bush's father at his side. From what I saw, W was more interested in the problems related to the oil supply than the urgency of helping people who are in dire need and a city that is in chaos. His performance on this disaster is nothing less than shameful.