Roughing up Harry Reid

Standing 8 Count

Bob Geiger over at AlterNet has his take on the issue of Reid accepting tickets to a couple of sold-out fights. Barbara Boxer told reporters Harry should have paid for the tickets. (In other developments, Boxer also announced she will be introducing a resolution calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq "within six months or at the earliest practicable date.")

Apparently Fox News has taken the reports about Reid's acceptance of tickets as being tantamount to accepting cash from Jack Abramoff. The good people over at News Hounds have taken the time to explicate the real news from the propaganda over at Fox.

Tim Chapman over at Townhall believes Harry Reid has more serious troubles than accepting a few free tickets. The folks over at Hot Air appear to believe that a few boxing tickets aren't all that interesting as compared to their belief that Reid is "in the mix" of the Abramoff investigation.

Update: Harry Reid won't be accepting anymore free tickets cause he doesn't want his legal activities to be confused with the illegal activities of those individuals currently being investigated and/or indicted and/or convicted of said illegal activities.

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Memorial Day: Dead Soldiers

Dead Soldiers

TV War--First Blood Part II

Besides the ship leaving port
For the hot, dry gulf
The white-haired woman says
I'm proud of my grandson
He has to go
To protect our interest.

Dear lady,
Your interest just left on that ship.

Lynda Van DeVanter (1991)

Facing It

My black face fades,
hiding inside the black granite.
I said I wouldn't,
dammit: No tears.
I'm stone. I'm flesh.
My clouded reflection eyes me
like a bird of prey, the profile of night
slanted against morning. I turn
this way--the stone lets me go.
I turn that way--I'm inside
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
again, depending on the light
to make a difference.
I go down the 58,022 names,
half-expecting to find
my own in letters like smoke.
I touch the name Andrew Johnson;
I see the booby trap's white flash.
Names shimmer on a woman's blouse
but when she walks away
the names stay on the wall.
Brushstrokes flash, a red bird's
wings cutting across my stare.
The sky. A plane in the sky.
A white vet's image floats
closer to me, then his pale eyes
look through mine. I'm a window.
He's lost his right arm
inside the stone. In the black mirror
a woman's trying to erase names:
No, she's brushing a boy's hair.

Yusef Komunyakaa (1988)

Anthem for Doomed Youth

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
- Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in The hands of boys but in their eyes
Shall shine The holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

Wilfred Owen (1920)

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Bush and Blair: The Blues Brothers

The Blues Brothers

I don't know where to begin critiquing the stand-up routine (aka: press conference) by Bush and Blair. After all I did find it rather laughable when Bush said that he actually read the letter sent to him by Ahmadinejad. Of course, it was pretty clear that the best joke of the night came during the following exchange.
Q Prime Minister, this is possibly your last official visit to Washington as Prime Minister --

PRESIDENT BUSH: Wait a minute. (Laughter.) Back-to-back disses.

Q At least the beginning of the end of your particular special relationship. Will you miss the President? What will you miss about him? (Laughter.)

And for the President, what will you miss about Tony Blair, and what are you looking for in an eventual replacement?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Hmmm -- I'll miss those red ties, is what I'll miss. (Laughter.) I'll say one thing -- he can answer the question -- don't count him out. Let me tell it to you that way. I know a man of resolve and vision and courage. And my attitude is, I want him to be here so long as I'm the President.

It was pretty clear that with Bush's endorsement that Tony Blair will not remain the resident of Number 10 Downing Street til the end of Bush term in office. Blair seems pretty resigned to this fact noting that he is about as popular at home as Bush is here in the US.
PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Well, what more can I say? (Laughter.) Probably not wise to say anything more at all. (Laughter.)

I don't know about you, but to me it appeared that as the straight man, Blair's laughter came across as a hard sell. Probably not wise to say anything more, was clearly the understatement of the night.

And if you think that I am being rather unkind to these two men, just check out this headline from the Times Online UK.
The lame-duck double act take their final bow
From Tom Baldwin in Washington
They behaved like a pair of veteran comics but Bush and Blair had some serious questions to answer

It is a shame that the the MSM here in the states lacks the backbone of the British press.

Here is another story that the Time Online is running. Revealed: how US marines massacred 24. When responding to the question about mistakes, Bush should have brought up Haditha. There is no gallows humor in this story. '“This one is ugly,” a US military official said.'

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A Likely Suspect in Capitol Police Probe of Gunshots Fired

A Likely Suspect

And to think, I was going to post a cartoon about Bush and Blair after their quaint little press conference to raise Bush's abysmal poll numbers. (You know as well as I do that Bush is hoping for a favorable bounce in his public approval ratings.) The minute I heard about the Capitol Police searching for a gunman with the possibility of shots fired, I could think of only one man as a likely suspect.

I want to know where was Dick Cheney at the time of the initial reports about a man being seen with a gun near or around the Rayburn building. Once we can remove him from the list of suspects...I would not be suprised to learn that members of Congress will be a little more accommodating when they learn that the FBI plans on searching their offices.

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Frozen Assets

Frozen Assets

I am not sure where to begin with this sorrid episode in US politics. When I heard that Congressman William Jefferson was caught on tape taking a bribe I couldn't help think about another black politician who was videotaped. I figured that the Republicans were all breathing a collective sigh of relief! A Democrat, a black Democrat on tape taking a bribe. (To be fair, it is alleged that he is on tape taking a bribe. I haven't heard anything yet. Have you?)

Things were starting to look up for the Republicans, the FBI obtained a search warrant and searched the congressman's office for more incriminating evidence to go along with the cash in the freezer.

That's when things start getting strange. The Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert along with Democrat House Leader Nancy Pelosi came to the aid of Jefferson, decrying what they saw as a violation of the separation of powers by the White House. Now I don't know if the Bush administration crossed the line again when it comes to the usurpation of congressional authority, but it does indicate that the members of congress have finally reached the point where they aren't just going to let the Bush administration push them around...for now...on this issue.

And just when you thought the all the strange occurances had reached a climax, Nancy Pelosi proved that there is no end to the strange goings on in Washington DC. It seems that Nancy Pelosi and other members of the House Democrat leadership (who are also member of the Democrat Leadership Council) asked William Jefferson, who isn't a member of the DLC to resign his seat on the House Ways and Means Committee. (Which he won't do.) Now, this could be racism at its finest. Or it could be the unspoken cause of the decline of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) by the DLC. It seems that another Democrat by the name of Alan Mollohan, (W. Va.) who sat on two house committees and was only asked to step down from one, the Ethics Committee and the second; the House Appropriations Committee which he was not asked to resign from.

I don't know what will be the final resolution to the investigation of William Jefferson. I do think that there are some important things to remember, as Mr Jefferson himself said,
"None of the matters reported to be under scrutiny involves issues under jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Committee. Therefore, such a request (to step down) would be even more perplexing and unreasonable. If I agreed, it would unfairly punish the people of the 2nd Congressional District and I will not stand for that."

Jefferson also pointed out that stepping down from the Ways and Means Committee would be "discriminatory" because no other member under investigation has been required give up a major committee assignment. This would include members of either party, including the previously mentioned Mollohan.

Update: ABC News has reported that House Speaker Dennis Hastert is being investigated on charges of corruption by the very same FBI that searched the office of William Jefferson. It would appear that the separation of powers concerns I spoke of earlier just might be about self-preservation on Hastert's part rather than his concerns for a fellow congressman. According to the ABC story,
Law enforcement sources told ABC News that convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff has provided information to the FBI about Hastert and a number of other members of Congress that have broadened the scope of the investigation. Sources would not divulge details of the Abramoff's information.

Another aspect of this post is the strange things that happen in Washington, it should be noted that Hastert's deputy chief of staff Mike Stokke believes that the FBI investigation has nothing to do with the Abramoff investigation.
"We've been in discussion with them since Sunday, with the Department of Justice, on this other matter of unconstitutional search and seizure." Stokke told the newspaper. "I don't recall any threats being made, but this is what is called in baseball a brushback pitch. ABC News got this from somewhere. I don't think they made this up."

"Brushback pitch?" More like Hastert got caught flinching on a called strike, his second strike.

2nd Update: It does appear that the Congressional Black Caucus is disgusted with Nancy Pelosi for her letter calling on Congressman Jefferson to resign.
Late in the day on Wednesday, Watt led a delegation of six senior CBC members — including Reps. Rangel, John Conyers (Mich.) and John Lewis (Ga.) — to a private meeting with Pelosi to inform the Leader that the CBC will publicly oppose her effort.

“I think she’s taking us down to the point where on Nov. 8 she’ll still be the Minority Leader,” an aide to a CBC member said. “Why act now and split the Caucus when there’s no precedent for it? Why not wait until there’s an indictment, when you could have unanimity behind you?”

The real story that is not being discussed is the role of the DLC within the DNC. Pelosi has clearly demonstrated a double standard within her own party in her treatment of Congressman Mollohan. I wonder if she would resign her position as minority leader if she found herself in Mr. Jefferson's position. I have no doubt that she would proclaim that she is innocent until proven guilty and that stepping down would be reserved until she had at least been indicted. Funny how she hasn't afforded Mr. Jefferson that same right.

I wish that I lived in her district just so I could vote for the candidate that runs against her in November.

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John Bolton suffers from foot-in-mouth disease.

While speaking to a meeting of B'nai B'rith International, a Jewish humanitarian organization, at the United Nations on Monday John Bolton let slip the real Bush administrations preferred policy of threats diplomacy torwards Iran.
"This is a sign to the rulers in Tehran that if they give up their long-standing support for terrorism and they give up their pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, that their regime can stay in place and that they can have a different relationship with the United States and the rest of the world."
I must admit that Bolton's words read like one nation making threats to another nation. And to think of all the political gesticulating the Bush adminstration goes through to criticize Iran for making threats to Israel. Of course, the article does mention the moment when John Bolton tried to spin his statement when pressed by reporters,
It was "flatly wrong," he added, to argue that Western powers wanted the Security Council to adopt a resolution that was legally binding on Iran "as an excuse to use force for regime change or anything else."
By then it was too late, John Bolton had been infected with a severe case of foot-in-mouth disease.

And while I am on the topic of letting things slip...like the revelations made by Bolton, apparently the new Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced to the suprise of Tony Blair that Iraqi forces would be taking control of two areas currently held by British troops by next month. And it gets even better. Not only will the Iraqis be replacing the British in two cities, the Iraqi prime minister also announced that the US and British troops will also be drawing down troops levels at an accelerated pace.
Nuri al-Maliki, the new Iraqi prime minister, had a surprise for Tony Blair and his entourage in Baghdad yesterday. At a joint press conference, Mr Maliki said British troops would hand over responsibility in two provinces to Iraqi security forces by next month and that he expected US, British and other foreign troops out of 16 of the country's 18 provinces by the end of the year, a much speedier and more ambitious schedule than the US and Britain have so far admitted to.

The announcement was news to Mr Blair and his team. Mr Maliki said there was an agreement with the British: but British officials said there was no agreement. And he said the withdrawals would be in June: officials say it will be July.

Mr Blair was more vague than the Iraqi prime minister. He insisted that there was no timetable and that the handover to Iraqi forces would depend on the prevailing conditions.
Sounds to me that the new Iraqi prime minister needs to better understand his role in the heirarchy of US hegenomy.

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Spread Liberally

Spread Liberally

Open for discussion and interpretation. Just do it somewhere else.

Sensenbrenner's Internets

Sensenbrenner's Internets

I am sure that many have heard about H.R. 5417, the Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006. According to the article at Raw Story
It would amend the Clayton Act to require that network providers: 1) interconnect with the facilities of other network providers on a reasonable and nondiscriminatory basis; 2) operate their network in a reasonable and nondiscriminatory manner such that non-affiliated providers of content, services and applications have an equal opportunity to reach consumers; and 3) refrain from interfering with users' ability to choose the lawful content, services and applications they want to use.

Geeze, if I weren't such a trusting individual I'd think that Sensenbrenner's motives are those of a man pure of heart. Of course, I am not that trusting. You probably noted that the previous paragraph doesn't really work with the cartoon. The information it contains serves as an interesting contrast between the cartoon and the following that I first learned about over at Agitprop.
The U.S. Department of Justice is quietly shopping around the explosive idea of requiring Internet service providers to retain records of their customers' online activities.

According to the current law, US Code: TITLE 18, Part I, Chapter 121 requires Internet providers to retain any "record" in their possession for 90 days "upon the request of a governmental entity" all in the name of protecting children from internet predators and sexual explotation. Under the legislation being written by Sensenbrenner, Internet Service Providers (ISP) would be mandated to hold user log information for what Attorney Alberto Gonzalez refers to as "reasonable amount of time."

My distrust of government kicks in when I read
Sensenbrenner's legislation--expected to be announced as early as this week--also would create a federal felony targeted at bloggers, search engines, e-mail service providers and many other Web sites. It's aimed at any site that might have "reason to believe" it facilitates access to child pornography--through hyperlinks or a discussion forum, for instance.

Reason to believe what? Catch-all phrases like "reason to believe" are a blank check to an administration that interprets the Constitution and US law to suit their needs and a Congress that is unwilling to fulfill its role as a check to the office of the President.

Are we supposed to believe that the intentions of AG Gonzalez and Sensenbrenner are pure of heart and pose no threat to the average US citizen? I think that Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, hits the nail on the head when he referred to
Sensenbrenner's measure [as] an "open-ended obligation to collect information about all customers for all purposes. It opens the door to government fishing expeditions and unbounded data mining."

I have serious reservations about the suggestions made by Alberto Gonzalez when considering his past suggestions about the subject of torture. As for Sensenbrenner, wasn't he the one his proposed legislation making all illegal immigrants felons? I thought so.


Briefed Coincidence (The NSA, CIA and Hayden's confirmation)

Briefed Coincidence

It just has to be a coincidence that the day before the Senate Committee on Intelligence was to begin the confirmation hearings (with the former head of the NSA) to fill the top post at the CIA the full committee was briefed on the NSA spying program for the first time. Bush was obviously under the impression that a briefing at the 11th hour would put to rest any questions regarding the president's disregard for the separation of powers, violations of the 4th Amendment and the administrations hypocrisy when it comes to their belief in "strict constructionism."

I like a few hundred thousand others watched the coverage of the Senate confirmation hearing on C-SPAN. I was looking for transcripts of the confirmation hearing but failed to find any beneficial links. The closest I came was this link here. The link, like many of General Hayden's responses have one thing in common, they lack substance.

So, a quick review of what I watched. Senator Russ Feingold (D) was the only senator to point out the previously address "coincidence" between the Wednesday's full Senate briefing on the NSA program and Thursday's confirmation hearing. Through Feingold I learned that while at the NSA Hayden believed (and relied upon) the "oversight" by a attorneys for the administration as opposed to going before the FISA court, or complying with the National Security Act of 1947.

Saxby Chambliss (R) was concerned with 15 U.S.C. Section 403c. He asked several questions regarding the following sections of the Chapter 15.
(c) Military status of Director and Deputy Directors
(A) Not more than one of the individuals serving in the positions specified in subparagraph (B) may be a commissioned officer of the Armed Forces, whether in active or retired status. [and]

(3) A commissioned officer of the Armed Forces, while serving in a position specified in paragraph (1)(B)—
(A) shall not be subject to supervision or control by the Secretary of Defense or by any officer or employee of the Department of Defense;
(B) shall not exercise, by reason of the officer’s status as a commissioned officer, any supervision or control with respect to any of the military or civilian personnel of the Department of Defense except as otherwise authorized by law; and
(C) shall not be counted against the numbers and percentages of commissioned officers of the rank and grade of such officer authorized for the military department of that officer.

While I wish I could say that General Hayden had been vociferiously questioned by every Republican and Democrat committee member, this was not the case. I give you the suprisingly entertaining Pat Roberts (R), who admits he was briefed on all 13 occassions regarding the secret activites being undertaken by Hayden while he was the head of the NSA. Robert's described his participation as, "I was acting independently, or I'd like to think I was acting independently." He thinks he "acted independently"? With Roberts at the helm, Hayden should sail through the committee on his way to being confirmed by the full senate before the end of the month.

That remindes me. It looks like my skills at prognostication need some work.

Grave Mistake

Grave Mistake

The "coalition of the willing" will grow smaller by one in the not so distant future. For those keeping score, the newly elected Prime Minister of Italy, Romano Prodi has announced that he will pull Italian troops from Iraq "as soon as possible."

Following his announcement to withdraw his nations troops from Iraq the Prime Minister gave his assessment of George Bush's "war for on terrorism, and it wasn't very favorable.
We consider the war and occupation in Iraq a grave mistake because it has not solved the problems of security, it has complicated them, and opened Pandora's box. Terrorism has found a new base and new excuses for internal and external terrorist action.

It is rather ironic that Mr. Prodi's conclusion about the invasion of Iraq has turned out to be the very thing that The Decider said his war was going to prevent. Remember what he said in November 2002?
Imagine a terrorist network with Iraq as an arsenal and as a training ground, so that a Saddam Hussein could use his shadowy group of people to attack his enemy and leave no fingerprint behind. He's a threat.

Mr. Prodi's assessment of conditions in Iraq is supported by a CIA assessment of the conditions in Iraq written nearly a year ago. (The following might be of importance when considering Mr. Prodi's words.)
A new classified assessment by the Central Intelligence Agency says Iraq may prove to be an even more effective training ground for Islamic extremists than Afghanistan was in Al Qaeda’s early days, because it is serving as a real-world laboratory for urban combat.

When the Prime Minister said that the war and occupation of Iraq was a "grave mistake" he wasn't kidding.

Military Fatalities:
US 2454
UK 111
Other* 111

Total 2676

*Other Coalition Countries:
Country Total
Australia 2
Bulgaria 13
Denmark 3
El Salvador 2
Estonia 2
Hungary 1
Italy 31
Kazakhstan 1
Latvia 1
Netherlands 2
Poland 17
Romania 2
Slovakia 3
Spain 11
Thailand 2
Ukraine 18

(Note that of the countries listed, that Italy has suffered the third most casualties behind the UK and the US.)

Of course, I haven't even mentioned the number of "grave mistakes" that have led to Iraqi civilians, police and military deaths since The Decider decided to invade and occupy Iraq. Those statistics can be found here and here.


Tony Snow: Recovering Fox News host?

If Al Gore is a "recoving politician" I suppose it would be fair to say that Tony Snow is a recovering Fox News host for his Freudian slip during Wednesday's White House press briefing. Check out the following response between the questioner and the respondee.
Q Okay. But, I mean, maybe it was a terrific meeting. As far as I can tell, that has not stopped Republicans, particularly in the House, from going gangbusters against this President before they've had a chance to read everything, as you say they should do.

MR. SNOW: Well, as I pointed out -- I mentioned this yesterday, and for -- let me see if I can find my quote, because I pulled it out. Chuck Hagel, as you may recall, made a fair amount of news over the weekend when he first said that -- let's see -- "Well, I want to listen to the details and I want to listen to the President," said Senator Hagel -- he said this on "This Week" on a competing network.[Emphasis added.] But I would say this: I think we have to be very careful here. That's not the role of our military, that's not the role of our National Guard." That's what Senator Hagel said on Sunday.

I had no idea that ABC was a "competing network" to the the Bush White House. Had Hagle made the same comment on, oh say Fox News would have Snow referred to it as a "sister network?"


Amnesty (& Immigration Reform)

Amnesty (& Immigration Reform)

It is a sad day when George Bush and the Republican Party cannot exploit the invasion and occupation of Iraq for their personal and political gain. So what is the "war president" and his party going to do? It is obvious that the Republican party needs a boogey-man, scapegoat, the "other" to foist societies problems on. If Iraq was going according to plan (I know, what plan) the issue of immigration would be a non sequitur during the 2006 mid-term election.

So, as the nation waits for this years October surprise the "central front in the war on terror" has been temporarily relocated to the US/Mexico border. The changing war front comes amid the presidents lackluster approval ratings and his need to reinvigorate his party's base. And what better way that to address the nation on Immigration Reform. Bush knows that the "other" has always worked at motivating the party faihtful, remember Willie Horton? Surely you remember the attacks against McCain in South Carolina?

Of course, Bush is straddling the fence on the issue of immigration reform. He has to find away to appeal to the Latino voter while not offending his party's base. He can't support the deportation of 11-12 million illegal immigrants anymore than he can support an amnesty program for those same illegal immigrants currently living in the US. What is a president to do? More importantly, what side of the fence will he eventually fall? Bush has to know that he faces some serious repercussions should his party lose control of either the House and Senate (or both).

Might the October suprise be a reduction of troops in Iraq similar to what John Murtha proposed last November only this time Bush will take credit for the idea?




It all started with coverage about what was originally referred to as the domestic spying program. The Bush administration having relied heavily upon the tactic of fear was afraid of what the public might think negatively of a domestic spying program would be more amenable to the terrorist surveillance program. All was well and good until it was reported that the NSA has beed working on a data collection program with phone companies, AT&T, Verizon and Bell South.

What makes all this news so interesting is that the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board[pdf] has been publicly silent on the issues of warrantles wiretaps, data collection of millions, possibly billions of phone calls in the US. The ACLU met with the board members (who were appointed by Bush in June 2005) at the end of April 2006 and called for an independent oversight board. I wish I could feign suprise when this president and his adminstration talk about the need for "government transparency" while they operate behind the opaque curtain. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board will no doubt operate behind the same curtain.


Liberal blogs host ads that look to regulate them

There is something most unsettling in arriving at a liberal blog (progressive is so PC) to find the advertisement of dontregulate.org. I can't help wonder just how plugged in the larger blogs really are when they host the advertisers that would lead to their ruin? Surely you are familar with the fight to save internet neutrality and prevent the internet from being taken over and regulated by the big telecoms like AT&T, Bell South who have been assisting Big Brother in the collection of information (and who knows what else) from their customers. Does big business conspire with the government for a little quid pro quo?

The host of blogs like Americablog and a host of news gathering sites like Raw Story seem unaware, uninterested or unable to control the advertisements that grace their pages. Have these "bloggers" and compilers of information read Telcos Seek to Deceive Bloggers with Cartoon? Might they be suprised to learn who they shill for?
Coming to a blog near you is a telecom-sponsored advertisement dressed up as an underground cartoon. It's the latest in the ongoing campaign by large phone companies to pull the wool over the eyes of the American public.

The cartoon is a product of a front group funded by AT&T and BellSouth. The group, Hands Off the Internet, is headed by Mike McCurry, the former Clinton Press Secretary who has been widely discredited for selling out his integrity to become the telephone industry's spokesmodel.

McCurry's group is now spending tens of thousands of dollars to infiltrate the blogosphere with a telco-attack on network neutrality -- the principle that keeps the Internet free and open to all.

It is most obvious that those who seek to inform others need to be better informed themselves.

Update: Other blogs found hosting the dontregulate.org advertisement. (I'll add them as I find them.)


2nd Update:: At last check, they are no longer hosting the ad in question.
Jesus' General (covers the story)
Talking Points Memo

3rd Update: At last check, they are no longer hosting the ad in question.
Raw Story

4th Update: At last check, they are no longer hosting the ad in question.
MyDD (covers the story)

Proud Mary Keeps on Burning

An attempt at prognostication

Well, the shit has hit the fan over at the White House with the latest revelation about the millions of US citizens phone numbers that the NSA has collected in the attempt to fight al Qaeda. (Has the crowd finally started to ignore the Deciders repeated cries of wolf?) As it turns out, Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, who Bush nominated on Monday to become the director the CIA, was in charge over at the NSA from March 1999 to April 2005. The policy and practice "to create a database of every call ever made" was his baby.

Well, it is early Friday morning, and everyone knows that Friday is the day to make announcements like they did when Goss announced he was being forced out going to resign, immediately. I will go out on a limb and predict that Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden will never have an up or down vote in the Senate. I will go further and say that he will withdraw his nomination (or Bush will) to avoid being questioned by Democrats and Republicans about the illegality of the NSA program. Which would undoubtedly cause further embarrassment to Bush while exposing the Decider-in chief's flagrant disregard of the US Constitution, again. (OK, if not this Friday (5/12) next Friday at the latest (5/19).)

Do you think that an administration that says it doesn't focus on polls will be focusing upon the latest poll showing Bush's support at 29 percent? How low can he go? Will he he find himself sharing the low-light with Dick Cheney with approval polls in the teens (low twenties?) come June 2006?

I almost feel bad for the sycophants of the Bush administration.



Millions of terrorists live in the United States

The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.

Knowing this, it is clear that an attack from within our national boarders (like the London bombing?) has to be on the horizon. The United States faces an imminent emminent imminent threat like that posed by Saddam Hussein and his lethal arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.

The nation should be alarmed by this news.
With access to records of billions of domestic calls, the NSA has gained a secret window into the communications habits of millions of Americans. Customers' names, street addresses and other personal information are not being handed over as part of NSA's domestic program, the sources said. But the phone numbers the NSA collects can easily be cross-checked with other databases to obtain that information.

Clearly such a large scale project of collecting the information of millions of Americans for cross-referencing reveals the danger and the secret invasion force that has penetrated the homeland. What other reason would Don Weber, a senior spokesman for the NSA, decline to comment upon either the agency's operations orthe extent of the secret invasion force.
Given the nature of the work we do, it would be irresponsible to comment on actual or alleged operational issues; therefore, we have no information to provide. However, it is important to note that NSA takes its legal responsibilities seriously and operates within the law.

With this news it becomes all to clear that every citizen of the United States should be doing more to aid in the "war for on terror." If this means giving up all our rights as guaranteed by the US Constitution, it must be done. We should follow the lead of the Decider-in-chief who has demonstrated his disregard for following the principles set forth in the Constitution. Now more than ever, I understand why the president believes that the Constitution is just a damned piece of paper. And why he thinks that you should too!

Ahmadinejad's letter to George Bush

I decide to read the letter that the president of Iran wrote to the president of the US. After reading it, it becomes quite obvious that Ahamdinejad is definately not as "mad" or "insane" as the voices of the rightwing MSM have been quick to assert. If a Ahmadinejad is anything, he is crazy...like a fox. His letter, while addressed to Bush was written with the idea that the world would be reading every word. One god fearing man to another god fearing man. And there are many words contained in the eight (18) pages. The effect the letter will have abroad is yet to be determined. It is rather obvious that the letter is mostly irrelevant to the Bush administration.

It is kind of ironic, Ahmadinejad the teacher is giving a history lesson to Bush, who "earned" a BA in History. Then there are all the references to Bush's faith. The letter is filled with the contrasts of the ideas of allah/god and the actions taken by the faithful(?) believer. Of course, the two men do share a love of their religion. But I wouldn't want to decide who was the bigger zealot anymore than deciding which one has exploited their faith for political purposes. Needless to say, Ahadinejad goes out of his way to contrast Bush's Christian faith against his unchristian-like actions that include the invasion of Iraq, the capture and detention of men held in Guantanomo Bay and the gulags of the former Soviet Union. (It's all in the letter, just read it.)

I doubt Bush will actually read the letter. And that I won't begrudge him. He'll leave that to some office aide that will write a 200 word or less synopsis of what the letter contained. But as I indicated at the beginning of this post, the letter was meant for international consumption more than it was about establishing a serious correspondence between those two men. It will be interesting to see how this letter plays internationally. If Bush and Ahmadinejad were playing poker, oh I don't know, say a game of Texas hold'em from the looks of things, the flop has been equally beneficial to both men...the kicker will be crucial, and both men will be all in when the river card has been dealt.

On a less serious note, on more than one occasion in the translation Ahadinejad refers to Bush as "Your Excellency." It was as if George were a king or something. Finally some common ground.


Job Growth

Job Growth

Have you seen these people? I know I have. (If you haven't I am sure it is only a matter of time before you do.) They are the latest phenomenon of Bush-onomics. These are the latest in advertising, 2-legged billboards. These billboards occupy the side of the road, sidewalk or the center divider (median), walking commercial advertisements attempting to direct your attention to their employers products or services. Whatever the case may be.

My favorite 2-legged billboards (not depicted here) are the dancing variety. With their walkman/IPod in pocket and headphones in place they dance to the music that only they can hear. (Never has a nation been closer to ideal of everyone walking to the sound of their own drummer.)

I can't begrudge these people for taking these jobs. A job is a job, unless you work in the fast food industry. In todays global economy and in accordance with Bush-onomics the fast food industry is not a service industry as much as it is one of manufacturing. I suppose that the 2-legged billboards could be classified as customer service representatives. Possibly even sales representative, after all they job is to sell their respective business with their colorful signage. I won't bore you by discussing future job-placement and advancement of the 2-legged billboard. (As if they had any...)

You know that these times, they are a changing...there was a time when the only guys that carried (wore) signs were those decrying that the end was nigh. What I'd give to see one of those 2-legged billboard entrepeneurs today.


George Bush's Best Moment: Catching a 7 1/2 LB Perch

7 1/2 LB Perch

The truth is stranger than fiction. I am not making this up. Here is the direct quote of President George Bush, via Reuters: "I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound (3.402 kilos) perch in my lake."

Surely the president would have said the freeing of 25 million people from an evil and oppressive dictator before he said catching a 7 1/2 pound perch.

I want to thank Blogenfreude over at Agitprop for the heads up.

UPDATE: Turns out that a 7 1/2 pound perch is really one wild fish tale! (Link via AMERICAblog.)

The President's Convenience (or: Bush hit another trifecta!)

The President's Convenience

What could I possibly add to this cartoon? I know, how about the following!

With the resignation of Porter Goss the Bush administration is experiencing their second "trifecta" since being elected in 2001. If you want information on how Bush is doing in the polls, go here. (Gotta love the numbers by Fox News.) If you want to read about Rumsfeld getting called out by a former CIA agent, go here. And if you want read about Porter Goss, you can go here, or here, or here and here.


The DC Police Department, Patrick Kennedy, Cynthia McKinney and Rush Limbaugh

The US Capitol Police Department is in the news again! It appears they may have given preferential treatment to an intoxicated white congressman. It is amazing that a white congressman (irrespective of political party) can nearly sideswipe a police car, then crash into a barrier, stumble from his car, annnounce that he was on his way to cast a congressional vote, only to be driven home by the Capitol Police.

Not so long ago there was much was made of the incident that occurred when Cynthia McKinney was reported to have struck a member of the aforementioned police force after she had been grabbed by an officer for failing to present her congressional identification. The charge of racial profiling (racism) made by Ms. McKinney against the Capitol Police takes on whole new life, in my humble estimation. (It is a good thing that McKinney wasn't driving like Kennedy.)

The Capitol Police remembered to follow protocol with respect to their interactions with Cynthia McKinney, but failed to follow department protocol when it came to their stopping, detaining and subsequent delivery of Congressman Kennedy to his home. He wasn't asked to perform a sobriety test. Nor did they perform a breathalizer test. Was it because Kennedy exited his vehicle and announced he was on his way to cast a vote and that the Capitol Police were covering their asses as it pertains to the Constitutional protection found in
Article 1: Section 6: [Congressman shall] be priviledged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective houses, and in going to and returing from the same;
Did the Capitol Police take Mr. Kennedy to vote before returning him home? I think not. Do you think that the on-the-scene supervisor would know whether or not congress was in session at 3 AM? Or what a congressman looks like, acts like when intoxicated, regardless of the substance ingested?

I wonder what efforts have been made by the Democrat party to keep Cynthia McKinney from speaking publicly about the differences between the treatment that she recieved at the hands of the Capitol Police as contrasted to her collegue Patrick Kennedy? A quick review, black congresswoman, white congressman from the same political party, different treatment, just a coincidence?

With regards to the Republicans, their right-wing, they already assailing Kennedy's admission of having previously been addicted to pain medication and that he was once again checking into the rehab as nothing more than him playing the role of a victim. My, my, my, the Republicans, their right-wing, certainly have short memories. It was a week ago that Roy Black, Rush Limbaugh's attorney was explaining how Limbaugh was a victim of his own addiction to Oxycontin. According to Mr. Black, a victim of addiction should get treatment and not jail time. It wasn't fair, it wasn't justified in the case of Rush Limbaugh, the victim.

I'll give it to the Republicans, their right-wing, they want to have their cake and eat it too! Either way, Kennedy is either a drug addict, or an alcholic who got special treatment that Republicans would never recieve. And to make matters worse, because of this incident some Capitol Police officer may lose their job.

And just think, if not for the good fortune (Goss' resignation) of the Bush adminsitration, I would be hammering away at how a former CIA employee publicly called out Donald Rumsfeld for his pre-invasion lies about Iraq's WMD's and the "bullet-proof" connection to al Qaeda.

Protestors and Their Flags

Protestors and Their Flags

May 1st 2006 saw the coming together of millions of Americans to protest against HR4437 and in support of amnesty for the 11-12 million undocumented workers living in the United States. (Please note that when I write Americans, I refer to all Americans, living in the northernmost point of Canada (or is it Greenland?) to the southernmost tip of Chile and Argentina.)

Those in favor of HR 4437 and opposed to amnesty condemed those protestors that would fly the flag of Mexico. As I heard the bigots, racists, and xenophobes (who did I forget) condemn the May 1st protestors for carrying the flag of Mexico I wanted to know where their outrage is when the flags of other nations, in this case Israel are flown by the supporters of AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) when they protested the FBI investigation(s) and subsequent charges being filed for spying.

I hope that everyone enjoys themselves this Cico de Mayo. Not to mention May 7th, Israel Independence Day. (Thanks to Kate @ OinLF)


Hugh (Spewitt) Hewitt & Christopher Hitchens

I don't often listen to right-wing radio, but on Wednesday night I was hanging out with my neighbor in his garage talking about this and that. While there I was able to catch the latter portion of the Hugh (Spewitt) Hewitt show. Hewitt was talking with Christopher Hitchens about Juan Cole in an effort to downplay Hitchens theft and publication of a private email. (You can read about it here, here, and here.)

After the Hitchens segment ended the show got a little more interesting. Hewitt started talking about the life sentence handed down to Zacarias Moussaoui, the 20th(?) hijacker. As it turns out, Hewitt was angy that Moussaoui was even on trial. Apparently Hewitt believes that Moussaoui should have been hauled off to Guantanamo Bay without a trial to be held as a ghost detainee (despite the violation of the US Constitution) because the "war for on terror" cannot be fought and won through the application of US law, and the US criminal justice system. (Apparently Mr. Hewitt is unaware of the successful criminal prosecutions of al Qaeda affiliated terrorist in European nations. To say nothing of the weak foundation on which this nation was built.)

So, Hewitt rails at the failures of the criminal justice system because Moussaoui wasn't given the death penalty, while equally complaining about the futility of trying terrorists for their crimes in our courts of law. (And to think, this is supposed to be a nation of laws.) And just when I thought that it couldn't get any stranger, Hewitt's listeners started calling in. Many of the callers where sycophants echoing the host's complaints about the trial itself, and that Moussaoui wasn't sentenced to death. Somewhere along the lines his callers started expressing their fears that since Moussaoui was going to spend his life on death row that in the not so distant future Moussaoui's al Qaeda comrades in arms would take hostages knowing that they had an imprisoned Moussaoui to use as a bargaining chip.

At this point I started laughing at what I was hearing. The listeners of redundancy radio apparently have short attention spans and only remember those things that the host has mentioned during the days program. First off, Moussaoui was a wanna-be, hanger-on al Qaeda terrorists. Well, at least according to the testimony given by the al Qaeda members being held in Guantanamo Bay. Second, are not these devoted listeners even aware of the stated US policy not to negotiate with terrorists?

Then again, you can't really expect much from people who are arguing that by killing Moussaoui you would be sending a strong message to other terrorists, who it turns out are willing to die for their cause.


Bolton and Kucinich 'discuss' Article 51

Article 51

Article 51 can be found in Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. According to John Bolton, the US Ambassador to the UN, Article 51 supports pre-emptively attacking another nation, and for purposes of this brief discussion let that other nation be Iran. Now, let us peruse said section of the UN Charter,which reads,
Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.

For an administration that prides itself on strict interpretations, it is quite obvious that John Bolton believes that pre-emptive attacks by the US are covered under Article 51. Perhaps, if my reading comprehension skills have failed me, the following language seems rather implicit. "Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations..." So nothing would prevent the US from attacking, again for the sake of the discussion, Iran, "if" Iran were to attack the US. Of course, Iran isn't going to pre-emptively attack the US despite all the bluster of Ahmadinejad.

The notion of pre-emptive attacks being covered by Article 51 by Bolton and the current administration does more to undermine and weaken the United Nations than any "lack of inaction" that works within the confines of the UN Charter. It should be noted that Bolton was rather clear that the Bush administration does not believe that the use of pre-emption is available to Iran.

Here is a link, just watch it for yourself.


Price Gouging

Price Gouging

On Meet the Press on Sunday Mr Bodman was heard to say,
The president has, has instructed the Justice Department to undertake an investigation of that. We see no evidence of it, but this is one of those situations where, I guess I would call it trust, but verify and that’s what the Justice Department is engaged in.

Bush's on the record comments about 'price gouging' came as he stood in the Rose Garden.
I have no evidence that there's any rip-off taking place. It's the role of the Federal Trade Commission to assure me that my inclination and instincts is right.

Sure, we can expect the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to speak out and publicly contradict his "inclination and instincts" only after they resign. Besides, if the FTC did find information that did contradict the "Decider" he'd just opt to go with another "signing statement" and reclassify the whole affair as secret.