Monday, February 27, 2006
And then we learn civil rights are a fond memory as the president announced he is spying on Americans and no judge or congressman is going to tell him he can't. And the republican controlled congress has abdicated to Bush's claim and refused to have any serious investigation into the scandal. Opponents to the program are tarred and feathered with the stain of being al quaeda sympathizers, which has paralyzed some Democrats from voicing concern or forcing the issue. Even though the Administration is known to have spied on Quakers, college activists and others deemed to be a threat to national security. Yet we are to be assured that like other superheroes, they promise to only use their power for good.
The crowning achievement of pharmaceutical industry is the Medicare prescription drug program. Our seasoned citizens look at all the options like a bull looking at a new gate. And the costs just keep on rising exponentially. I wonder where all that extra money is coming from?
Then Cheney shoots a guy in the face. That scandal was short lived since the victim promptly apologized.
It appears that Iraq will return to its roots and break off into three different countries. I can't imagine the audacity of these ungrateful and recently freed Arabs. Bush has provided them with the God given right of freedom and democracy and this is how they act? Even though many advisers warned Bush of a potential bloody civil war, he preferred the flowers and parades stories. All of his pre-emptive strike reasons were found to be false. It was eventually pre-empted with the cutesy phrase of "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here," that faux news viewers could understand.
And now his ports deal opens our front door to a country with very real ties to 9/11. So maybe we can fight them over here after all. Does this make Bush guilty of harbouring terrorists? More likely his arrogant and Imperialistic worldwide policies has given birth to thousands of them. This latest debacle has provided a serious rift between the President and the republican congress.
The republican doppleganger they have in Bush has sprung a leak. Inflated by popular belief which cast him as the "protector in chief", the UAE ports deal has the Administration searching for a patch. The arrogance of Bush has deemed congress as irrelevant, bolstered by their own cowtowing, prevents his altering course on this deal. This will force the congress to rediscover a previously ignored body part. The tide has turned as more republicans distance themselves from a wildly unpopular president and his failed policies. Perhaps democrats can retake control of congress which is the best hope for serious investigations into this lawless administration.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Convicted felon John Poindexters' discreet, yet chatty mistress, TIA (Total Information Awareness, or TIA, which is spanish for Aunt) a mega super snoopy data mining type continental gossip, is not so dead after all. Uncle Sam's nosy wife was thought to have been euthanized by lawmakers over two years ago, for privacy infringement reasons, and that she was known to be consorting with convicted gunrunners. As the National Journal puts it:
A controversial counter-terrorism program, which lawmakers halted more than two years ago amid outcries from privacy advocates, was stopped in name only and has quietly continued within the intelligence agency now fending off charges that it has violated the privacy of U.S. citizens. Research under the Defense Department's Total Information Awareness program -- which developed technologies to predict terrorist attacks by mining government databases and the personal records of people in the United States -- was moved from the Pentagon's research-and-development agency to another group, which builds technologies primarily for the National Security Agency, according to documents obtained by National Journal and to intelligence sources familiar with the move. The names of key projects were changed, apparently to conceal their identities, but their funding remained intact, often under the same contracts.
This little slut TIA is going to give Uncle Sam a virus. He probably needs a good old fashioned enema to get rid of all this shit. If this government were staffed by professionals with true credentials instead of keystone cop cronies this would be grave. As it is now, it seems like just another imperialistic run-of-the-mill lawbreaking. The one thing they can do though is win elections. I wonder who that nosy bitch is spying on?
...but the main mission of Bush and Cheney was to leave Washington less than they found it.
And they wasted no time getting down to it, most triumphantly with their massive tax cuts of 2001. The cuts would leave less revenue to pay for federal programs, saddle future presidents with crippling deficits and debt-interest payments, make the middle class pay more and lighten the load on the rich.
Bush/Cheney also packed federal departments -- EPA, Justice, State, FEMA, Defense and others -- with multiple layers of true-believing appointees. Their job was to freeze out career public servants and radically shift their institutions from active mode to passive to somnolent in such areas as environmental protection, voting/civil rights and social services.
Suddenly, Bush and his fellow would-be pillagers had to figure out how to marshal the manifold resources of government -- including those experienced, dedicated public servants previously regarded as quaint anachronisms -- to actually accomplish things.
In his article he describes Paul R. Pillar, who retired last year after 28 years with the CIA, the last six of them as the senior analyst responsible for coordinating information and data on the Middle East from America's 15 different intelligence agencies, assessment of Bush "fixing the intelligence" around the pre-emptive strike doctrine for Iraq.
Pillar readily acknowledges some incorrect assessments about Iraq by the intelligence community, but he says that those mistakes were mostly irrelevant because Bush didn't base his decision to invade Iraq on intelligence anyway.
Of course not. He had the neocon playbook that called for the removal of Saddam. And he was going through it step by step. Bush doesn't lead...you just sort of aim him.
An Iraqi Sunni is a thousand times more loyal to his fellow Sunnis than to some theoretical Iraqi government. The same is true of Shiites and even more true of Kurds. They donÂt care about Iraq Â we do.
The Iraqis are perfectly capable of fighting with passion and effectiveness. Just look at the insurgency Â those are Iraqi fighters (at least 90% according to the various Pentagon sources). Look at the Kurdish peshmarga militia that maintains order in the north. Look at the Badr brigades and the Mahdi army of the Shiites in the south. All of these forces are perfectly capable and willing to fight Â just not for the Iraqi army.
There is no Iraq. It does not exist in the minds and souls of the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. There will be three different countries in the place we call Iraq, whether we like it or not.
What we should be doing is working towards a realistic goal Â a relatively peaceful transition towards three different countries in the area. We might not be able to keep these people together but we could probably help them to separate.
I don't see Iraq ever being Iraq again. If stay the course means our soldiers being the primary target in a three way civil war, I see the Presidents judgement (as if) coming into serious question. The good news it's over for Bush. The bad news is:
And at what point will we have to re-invade Iraq to protect the Sunni minority from the Shiite oppression?That day promises to be rich with irony. I wonder if people will notice. They didn't seem to when Rumsfeld ordered the invasion of the country he sold weapons to for having too many weapons (let alone the fact that he sold them those weapons to use against Iran and now we just handed the country over to Iran with our invasion to get rid of the weapons we sold them to fight against Iran).
Thursday, February 23, 2006
The 1200 year old most holy Shiite mosque is in ruins, as is any hope of a stable Iraq. Our fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here goofy talking point lies amidst the ruins. The civil war, that has all but been declared by the MSM, is not a holy war jihad against the infidels, but against believers of the same faith. Holy sites throughout the cradle of civilization are under siege and being attacked.
The wobbly Iraqi government is calling for calm and suggestions that some outside source is responsible trying to foment internal strife. The claim may be a valid one but it requires reason. And faith picks up where reason ends. Unfortunately and too often faith usurps reason passionately. Those who question actions carried out in the name of religion are merely insufficiently religious, or more on point, godless heathens, subhuman and deserving of destruction.
Human search for existential points have caused faith to become the answer. We seek answers for what is unknowable and faith provides that by creating a deity that is all-knowing. This faith drives its followers to disdain, sometimes fanatically, actions contrary to the perceived will of the deity. Prophets lay out tenents, shrines are built, and the faithful worship and obey.
The caution is that our creator also gave humans the ability to reason. One assumed S/He expect us to use it. Especially to identify false prophets to cynically lead the flock astray. Recent events have shown how power and profit hungry people can acquire the leadership of the most powerful country on earth by contemptuously motivating religious followers to his cause. It is now understood that "yeehaw" is not a foreign policy. The current desecration of Muslim shrines in Iraq could very well flood the entire middle east region. Haters of America might decide to destroy Mecca and blame the infidels for the carnage. Instead of 12 terrorists armed with boxcutters we could very well be confronted by the entire Muslim world. This would be a direct result of false prophets cynically leading the flock astray for their own dubious purposes.
Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Most certainly he had experts available that might have offered an alternate reality, but that's too much like homework. Besides, he likes the flowers and parades story better. The cartoon protest is like a garden party compared to what happens when someone blows up a shrine. One that stood for twelve hundred years and entombed two guys with major holy mojo. This is an absolute travesty. Every reason put forth for us being there has been demonstrated as false--most of which the government knew was false and the rest of the "evidence" is suspect. We still wait as Senator Footdrag of Kansas refuses to conduct Phase II of the investigation as well as blocked the investigation into the NSA Warrantless eavesdropping program.
War on Terra, war on Iraq, war on Americans in America. Yeah, he's a war President.
It sends the wrong signal to allow one company in one part of the world manage the ports and not another from a different part of the world. Or even stronger, it's wrong to be an islamaphobe--it's wrong to be racist--it's wrong to be xenophobic.
And the opposition claims it's wrong allow our ports to be managed by a country with ties to terrorists. It's wrong to fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here, yet hold the door open for them.
So this is the choice. Right and wrong is always an easy choice, but when faced with two wrong choices one must decide which is least wrong. Maintain at least one (desperately needed) valuable Arab ally that has demonstrated aide in our efforts to combat terrorism? Granted, they may rub shoulders occasionally with shady characters, don't we all. Or should we be better safe than sorry?
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
It would be much easier to believe this administration has a watchful eye on all things at all times and we need not worry since dubya is riding shotgun and people much wiser than the unwashed masses are effectively managing our affairs of state. What would help in this is if you knew some political ideology was driving them. Something like conservative or moderate or liberal--as long as it was something consistent that you could kind of lean on as a guide. Instead, these high idealistic signposts are now splintered, laying in waste and leaning to and fro like so many drunken sailors.
I always understood where conservatives were coming from, and indeed they hold valuable points. I just happen to disagree on several fundamental points. Fair enough. I can never tell where this Administration is coming from. My first reaction to this opening of our ports and letting UAE walk in and take over was bewilderment. Why would Dubya allow terrorist financiers take over several ports? All this talk about coast guard and customs maintaining security at these ports is such bullshit. Mohammed Atta didn't have the fucking keys to the plane either now did he? Which brought out my second reaction--anger. I have listened to democrats demand action and funding to increase our port security. The yellow dog barks and the caravan rolls on. We're fighting 'em over there so we don't have to fight 'em over here.
So, what the hell, it's an election year, let's go ahead and bring 'em over here. Which brought me to my third reaction--fear. A car bomb or a shiny bullet placed strategically into the right person in there homeland and their complete political landscape could change overnight. And god forbid should someone draw a cartoon of the wrong prophet. The hue and cry could be almost immediate "Death to America!" and a boatload of nukes could steam our way. Then another reaction stole into my psyche--suspicion.
A Rovian trap with midterms on the horizon. As my feeble mind is no match to plumb the depths of his deviousness, my fear surprisingly increased. The devil you know (terrorists) versus the devil you don't (Rove). His dirty tricks for political gain have now been played on an international scale. Dubya promised to be a unifier after the grueling campaign marshaled by Rove ended in a supreme court coronation. September 11 gave him that unification, democrats and republicans stood shoulder to shoulder behind or President, as did the entire world, and we were indeed united.
No longer. Any opposition to the President was dealt with by using 9/11 as a blunt political weapon to beat opposition senseless with. The right wing grew more powerful and became intoxicated at the spectacle of wholesale slaughter of debate and laughed and jeered like heathens watching lions eat Christians. It has now grown into a cult where even their own kind are thrown to the lions for gainsaying King George. Now clothed in unfettered omniscience and brandishing a terrible swift sword, he can and does and says his will. Which no longer has any semblance of conservative theory. Nation building, expanded federal government and expanded federal power can in no way be construed as conservative ideals.
Invade a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, had no WMDs, did not harbor terrorists and had a secular government and replace it with a civil war headed by tribal factions of fanatical religious cultists recruiting and training terrorists to kill Americans. Hell, sign me up. But take a country with undisputed ties to 9/11 and hand our ports over to them. Anyone who speaks out against this is declared a xenophobic racist, or some shit like that. Is the true motive behind these things not a political ideology at all? Is money the driving issue behind these zany policies and hyperbolic defenses of same? Certainly forensic accountants will view all of these transactions and I'm sure it will take years to wade through all of the financial subterfuge--if in fact money was the driving force behind this patchwork of applied political stances.
I'm certain there are some who have already made up their minds on this. That would take a serious leap for me to make. Ravage foreign countries and sell national security for filthy lucre.
Monday, February 20, 2006
This alarms me when it is applied to the leader of not-so-free world who claims the power to spy, jail and perhaps even torture and kill Americans in America. On his say so alone and no one has the authority to see any evidence against his victims. Has the social Darwinism espoused from the right somehow mutated into this grotesque form of government intrusion? How can anyone defend such an outrageous claim as this? Even though Bush is term limited out, this matter will have to be resolved. Slowly, this issue will hopscotch through requisite hoops until some future resolution will occur. And with the midterms on the horizon, it appears the Democrats are running from this issue for fear of being soft on terror. For god sake, take a stand and tell Bush, in the strongest language possible, to go fuck himself.
Yes the terrorists attacked us but we have faced utter annihilation by far greater threats and came away with our constitution intact. There are those that say these powers the president is invoking are in the constitution and therefore are no threat to it. It is an aberration and wholly foreign to any Americans understanding that any president can intrude on an American citizens life and completely disregard all liberties the citizen thought he had. What bullshit. Hillary needs to quit biting Cheney's' ankle and writing flag burning amendments and demand an accounting of the real attack on American people.
Of course we should spy on terrorists. Duh. Osama shouldn't be calling anyone, he should be dead or rotting in one of our jails. Where is the outrage from our elected democrats? Our very democratic ideals are being assailed by this administration which must be met with an unapologetic full frontal assault on this breach of civil liberties. The time to take a stand on this is now. Require a full hearing to determine who was spied on and for what reason. That is something the Administration wants to keep anyone from knowing. Who gives a shit how they conducted the intercepts and all this gee-whiz technocrap. Demand all content of all files and what constituted reasonable suspicion. Political enemies? Anti-war demonstrators? Reporters?
As Bush continues to plummet in the polls, the moral-relative right wingers will discard him for the unpardonable sin of losing support. As long as he was popular, he could do no wrong. That time has passed as pointed out in Digby's post:
By the time it's all over Bush is going to be seen as a coke-sniffing, frat boy hippy by the movement conservatives. This is how they do it. And then they'll go back to doing the same things they always do --- whatever it takes to win.
I would be surprised if Karl Rove survives the CIA leak investigation in the outing of Valerie Plame. I'm sure he is the one that most Democrats fear when opposing the president on using war powers against American citizens. I know how they feel. When I went to court in a dispute with my ex-wife I had all these rules and shit, like telling the truth, she however did not. It is always unpleasant facing an opponent who will do anything to win while you are bound by certain restraints. Be that as it may, the president has declared war powers on the constituents who elected their representatives to conduct their business. It's time to get busy and some noise.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
One politician was concluding a day of very hard door to door campaigning and flesh pressing with a campaign fundraiser picnic at a local park. The main menu item was fried chicken and the famished candidate took his place at the feeding line. The lady with the tongs gave him two pieces of chicken and moved to the next plate. Our famished candidate protested saying he wanted more and added "I'm the candidate". The lady was unmoved as she told him "I'm the one with the tongs."
One would think elected leaders would be as provincial in their own capacity as the chicken lady. Truly, it would be hard to imagine a worse leader than the one we have now. Clearly he is not conservative and yet many conservatives blindly defend his every movement. Lately they seem to be increasingly scrambly, which is a technical term for nervous. Virtually every poll that I have seen shows an extremely unpopular president. He may quickly descend to toxic, or even to the level of Abramoff, radioactive. Imagine the idiocy of selling our port security to the financiers of 9/11. You got to have some major limber lips to sell that one.
I have always had little patients for someone who criticizes any and all statements and objectives of an elective official. I deem them partisan hacks who should be viewed as such and not taken overly seriously. I now find myself uncomfortably within their numbers. I can find no redeeming qualities in this administration and the lickspittle lapdogs in congress who carry their water. The one card they played continuously for political advantage was fear. Fear to blind us to all while they threw open the doors to our treasury for their donors to help themselves. And now they want to sell our port security to terrorist financiers. I mean, they do have money, right?
Last week Glenn Greenwald posted about this blind following of Bush is not patriotism and broached the subject of Republicans using fear for political gain. Apparently Alexandra von Maltzan who blogs at All Things Beautiful took exception to this claim. While true nothing short of a Vulcan mind meld or a short stay at Abu Graib for our leader could produce the undeniable truth to his motives, the circumstantial evidence of the right wing noise machine, led by our protector-in-chief, is nothing short of trying to induce some sort of mass hysteria. And now they want to sell our port security to terrorist financiers.
A heath care policy written by lobbyists, nation building in a disastrous and unnecessary war, no effort to find Osama bin Laden, exploding deficits, the abandonment of Katrina victims, exploding deficit giveaways to big oil, big pharmaceutical and the ultra rich, sham defense companies receiving earmarks to fund Republican campaigns, disastrous environmental laws, miners being killed by appointing lobbyists over mine safety, and on and on and on. I find no redeeming qualities for this administration and those who allow them free reign to rape pillage and plunder this country. And now they want to sell the advantage they felt they had. Those who now defend this administration are the beneficiaries of the sacking of America.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
(1) The President is now claiming, and is aggressively exercising, the right to use any and all war powers against American citizens even within the United States, and he insists that neither Congress nor the courts can do anything to stop him or even restrict him.
Whether this radically perverted view of presidential power is legal or not, will be decided by the courts. The point is in the claim itself, and the belief this administration has that it can listen in on private conversations, (e-mail, snail mail) gather intelligence on whoever they feel is a threat to "national security", (Quakers, student protestors) jail American citizens for years with no charges or access to lawyers or the courts (Padilla) with no oversite whatsoever.
The legal position stated by Gonzales is very disturbing and should alarm and outrage all Americans. An administration that claims the exclusive authority to spy, jail, and perhaps even torture and kill its citizens is a claim wholly foreign to all Americans. As Glenn pointed out, this is not a liberal or conservative outrage but one that subverts all Americans basic understanding of the founding priciples of our country.
Contrary to the central deceit manufactured by Bush followers over the last five years, patriotism is not defined by loyalty to a particular elected official. Indeed, excess loyalty to a single individual is the very antithesis of patriotism, as it places fealty to that individual over allegiance to the country, its interests and its values. Patriotism is measured by the extent to which one believes in, and is willing to fight for and defend, the defining values and core principles of our country.
This cannot stand. We must demand action to reign in this blatant power grab and insist the rule of law be brought to bear on this totalitarian viewpoint. Exercise your freedom of speech while you still have it.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
My brother and me were raised by a single mother who worked everyday. My sister came along later and all of us grew up outside the penitentiary and off the pipe. And we all work everyday. It's unfortunate that my coworker has been blinded by the right. The belief that somebody took all the wacky liberals and threw a tent over the circus and called it the Democratic party. Do I have problems with the dem's? Sure I do. However my problems with the Republicans are long, deep and wide.
I see it primarily as a value issue. Or the conflict between the value placed on people instead of things. It should be obvious to the reasonable person, which of these two choices is the right one. Human rights should be a centerpiece issue in all of our foreign policy decisions. The women of Islam are treated atrociously and have no rights whatsoever. However, the policies of this leadership shows they have made a disturbing value choice in nearly all areas including Tax policy, Environment, Health Care, Jobs, wages and immigration. And it's not just this administration. The republicans have convinced me that they truly don't care. Not by what they say, (since I'm not a member I don't have a decoder ring) but what they do.
We call this redistribution of wealth. And yes, we'll be using the same words, but with dramatically different meanings. One of the greatest things in this country is our infrastructure. Hot and cold running water, lights you don't have to use a match on, highways and bridges, even our system of economy. All these things took a large investment in time effort and money. And this infrastructure allowed some people to become quite wealthy, which is the American way. Republicans believe the people who became wealthy by taking full advantage of the opportunities this system has provided, should not be required to contribute their share of the upkeep of it. Bush just submitted a budget of 2.77 trillion dollars to congress replete with cuts to farms, medical research, health for our seniors, student education and more. But he wants the tax cuts to the wealthiest of Americans to be made permanent. Corporations are required by tax code to pay 35%. With tax shelter schemes many have reduced their tax load down to 15%. The cost to America has been conservatively estimated at $75 billion per year. Some estimates run as high as $250 billion.
Meanwhile a disastrous war rages in Iraq where our soldiers are protected with second rate body armor. Where is the shared sacrifice in this budget in the face of staggering debt? Certainly not with those who have benefited the most. This tax policy does not value people. It is simply a version of the failed "Trickle On" policies of Ronald Reagan. We clearly have a record in modern times of sound policies that demonstrates the triumph of people v. things. Twelve years of Republican leadership (Reagan and GW) Eight years of Democrat (Clinton) and now five years of W. In case you were asleep it went: massive deficit spending, surplus and paying down the debt, and back to massive deficit spending.
Now certainly, the republicans can point to 9/11 and inherited the "Clinton Recession" and Iraqistan and the Australian tse tse fly. This is not leadership. Step up. I have little patients for lack of responsibility.
I think we're in serious trouble with this one. Fortunately this Administration has passed the Clean Air Act and the Healthy Forest Initiative. Oh, wait, I don't have my decoder ring so I don't really know what that means. (snark) Well, yes I do. The default interpretation is usually the opposite. Allow industry free reign to rape, pillage and plunder our environment. And many of these Corporations use fancy offshore tax dodge schemes. In the 50s the tax load was split about fifty fifty between corporations and individuals. Now corporations pay less than 14% of tax revenues collected. Are they good Americans?
The old saying is if you think high wages are the answer, vote Democrat. If you think high wages are a problem, vote Republican. I understand a business owner feeling the government has no business in his business. Deregulate everything and rely on "Social Darwinism." To adopt this policy is to ignore our history of tenement housing for the working class with wealth and power consolidated into the hands of the few. A business owner can operate because these regulations are in place. It is a well founded policy in civil society to regulate businesses. To avoid these burdensome regulations many companies have moved operations overseas where they pay Chinese laborers (who have no protections) 30 cents an hour, incorporate in the Grand Cayman Islands to evade taxes, and reduce America to consumers. Those jobs that cannot be exported, such as the harvesting of our natural resources, like oil and gas, agricultural, road construction, etc. are being taken over by illegal immigrant at the tacit endorsement of this Administration. Abu Gonzales sent a letter out to judges reprimanding them for being to hard on illegals. Fascinating. Wholesale outsourcing of our jobs and flood the market with cheap labor.
Seems we've been paying everyone else's bill. We have been informed that Americans are paying for R & D for the whole world because our government won't come up with a sane Health Care Policy. Pharmaceutical companies have the most active of all lobbies in DC. If they hear of a bill being considered they twist arms, grease palms wallpaper congressional districts with flyers--ie a full court press. And the American people pay out the nose for health care. This is untenable. When Clinton was in office and he handed this project off to Hillary she was roundly criticized. This administration fixed it so the government couldn't get price breaks and Americans couldn't order cheaper drugs from Canada.
We need to reevaluate where we place our values. This Administration places the highest value on profits from the wealthiest of citizens, rampant cronyism and maintaining power. The midterms are coming up and we will see if the influence of lobby dollars in campaign can purchase enough smoke to cloud the vision of the electorate. Or is it already entirely too late.
Monday, February 06, 2006
What came through to me was we have this superduper secret spy program that's so secret they won't show anyone outside the echo chamber what's going on. They use the word "international" but when Abu Gonzo was asked if any intercepts happened from American soil to American soil he couldn't discuss operational details. No shit. Could it be because it goes against your shiny new title of "International Terrorist Surveillance program?" Basically he said this is legal, MYOB, we're professionals so trust us. Trust us??
You see, this is where the rub is. I mean, this administration has done such a bang-up job up 'til now. Starting with the smear on Senator Mcain in the primaries to election night. And that was just the pre-game. They can tap dance all around the legal issues if they want but the real issue is credibility, and the lack thereof. George of the Bungle's 45 day re-authorization reveiw was described as careful and thoughtful. Like when he was Governor of Texas and reduced his review time of death penalty cases from half an hour to 15 minutes.
So we have one of the nastiest campaigners in the White House controlling a superduper computer hearing aide. Who is he going to protect? Himself or the country? We already know they spy on their political enemies ala Tricky Dicky. The stories are already out here and here and here. I would rather Gonzo and Bungle be led off in leg Irons. Short of that, somebody has got to be able to look over these guy's shoulder.
All of congress is atwitter with the reform movement. They write a bill and pass it and go home and say, look at what I've done. They are, after all, lawmakers. We've been writing laws for what, 200 years now, and they think this or that will be the magic law? The answer is honest lawmakers. And they aren't called republicans. Sure the Dems have had their share of crooks, but these guys are apparently bred to believe they are entitled to loot our treasury. Throw 'em out. Get busy.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Democrats face two enemies who will do whatever it takes to acheive their goals. The reason a terrorist straps a bomb to his chest and gets on a bus is because he doesn't have an F-16. If he did and dropped a bomb on a neighborhood he would be considered part of a legitimate government. The reason Rove conducted "push polls" against Mcain in the primary, where callers asked respondents if they were aware that Senator Mcain had an illegitimate black child, would they be more or less likely to vote for him, was to become a legitimate government.
When questioned by a reporter like Timmeh or Tweety on domestic spying the suggested response should be, "If Osama bin Laden or Al Quaeda is calling someone in America, I'll want to know why." When pressed about warrantless spying it would simply be a matter of pointing out that no judge would fail to issue a warrant on those grounds.
But this is not the only issue, even though this one is huge. Corruption is another big one. Even beyond Abramoff. In the budget reduction Act Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) gave $22 billion back to the health insurance industry--that had previously been cut--in a closed door session, no Democrats allowed. And there is case after case of these shady dealings going on. Another shady republican finance scheme, if true, shows the depth of their sleaze. You open up a whole slew of front companies and call them defense contractors. You submit a bunch of bids the pentagon didn't ask for and get your republican buddies to put a bunch of earmarks into a spending bill and presto-changeo, you turn tax dollars into republican TV commercials. This story was broke by Google Sherlock over at Kos.
Medicare has been turned into a joke. Our senior citizens are looking at acres of forms like a bull looking at a new gate. More complicated and more expensive. Governors across the country are scrambling to pick up the slack. Incomes are going down, good jobs are being lost, the environment is being destroyed, our treasuries been plundered, our military is getting short shriff, the constitution is being pushed aside and Republicans are on the take.
Looking across this withering failure of Republican policies, I think the Democrats stand an outstanding chance. After many years of being politically inactive, I have been spurred into action. Not just by quietly typing away a tirade and railing against the system, but physically as well. I have donated to my local Democratic party and have started, once again to become involved. My goal is to get two or three of my friends involved as well. It's a realistic goal and I feel confident I can do it. I think it's worth my time and effort to replace as many Republicans as possible and send a message that I want a good steward of the publics trust and wisdom in our foreign policy.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Hand picked by Norton, Italia Federici leads the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy (CREA) and gave Abramoff an inside track to the DoI. Seems they were pretty chummy. The attempt (so far successfully) to stall the accounting of the DoI is a tale that makes Erin Brockovich look like a sandbox squabble. In Cobell v. Norton, the largest class action lawsuit in history, pits Elouise Cobell, a Blackfoot banker representing 500,000 indians who claims the DoI has shorted payments to their indian clients by $176 billion. She means to collect.
Opposing her efforts are the DoI, the considerable resources of the Department of Justice and 35 of the countries most expensive law firms. Naturally the indians are concerned that the negative implications of the Abramoff and gaming interest will spill over into making indian causes a bad thing. Mary Beth Williams writes a series of articles on this very complicated but ultimately tragic example of how we continue to fuck Native Americans over. Do yourself a favor and read about it and link to it.
Friday, February 03, 2006
As the director of the effort, Vice Adm. John M. Poindexter, has described
the system in Pentagon documents and in speeches, it will provide intelligence
analysts and law enforcement officials with instant access to information from
Internet mail and calling records to credit card and banking transactions and
travel documents, without a search warrant.
Historically, military and
intelligence agencies have not been permitted to spy on Americans without
extraordinary legal authorization. But Admiral Poindexter, the former national
security adviser in the Reagan administration, has argued that the government
needs broad new powers to process, store and mine billions of minute details of
electronic life in the United States.
That's right, the same Poindexter indicted and convicted of 7 felony charges during the Iran-contra investigation of the early '90s (later overturned on appeal). Since he was running the "Total Information Awareness" program (an ominous sounding name without even pointing out that the aconym TIA is spanish for aunt. Seems Uncle Sam's ole lady is a nosey bitch) it didn't pass the smell test with congress and they cut the funding to it.
So apparently the Administration just did an end run around congress and the judicial branch as well. From what I gather, data mining isn't a way to track persons of interest. It seems like its a way to find persons of interest--by just spying on everyone and trying to root out bad guys. Now I'm not a lawyer but it seems like it would be pretty hard to get a warrant for something like that. "Judge we think there's a bad guy in Cleveland so we'd like a warrant to search everybody in town until we find a crook." Maybe that's why Bush's advisers told him FISA wouldn't work with nosey TIA.
So now who is it exactly that would appoint this independent prosecutor? An Abu Gonzales mini me?
"I mean, we've got Chavez in Venezuela with a lot of oil money," Rumsfeld added. "He's a person who was elected legally - just as Adolf Hitler was elected legally - and then consolidated power and now is, of course, working closely with Fidel Castro and Mr. Morales and others."
Damn. Used the "H" word. These neocons are way out of control. Do their campaign contibutors need more no bid contracts? WTF?
Sorry about the typo's, I'll try to be more careful. Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) was elected to the House of Representatives second most powerful position on the second vote. Seems there were more votes cast than members on the first ballot. Boehner is confident that all the fuss about the "culture of corruption" will die out in a few weeks. I think the Dem's will be making this a big issue in the mid-terms as Boehner will probably just make a few cosmetic changes. So this is good news for the Dem's as the Repub's have selected an ubersleazeball as their leader. Let's retake the House and investigate George of the Bungle so we can give him a premature ejection.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Now it seems there are missing e-mails from the office of the Sith Lord. Scooter needs them for his defense but Special Prosecuter Fitzgerald said somethings amiss with the archives. Since tricky Dick had problems with missing recordings, a law was passed in 1978 saying all communications of the White House are the property of the government and must be archived. Digby pointed out the outrage the Republicans expressed when supposedly there was a missing e-mail that Lewinski had sent to Clinton. Poor Bill, republicans climbed so far up his ass he could taste brylcreme. Where is their outrage now?
This lying, cheating hypocracy runs rampant in the Republican Party. MyDD grew a little weary of the limpwristed polls the MSM was doing on the warrantless domestic spying program which, predictably, produced vanilla results. So they put out their own poll. A real cinchy no-brainer question was should congress investigate and stunningly 72.5% of the Republicans said no! And if he had broken the law 64.7% of the Republicans opposed or strongly opposed impeachment and removal from office. And I thought there was no loyalty among theives. Oh, that's right, I haven't got to the theiving part yet.
Whoever said "Nothing in life is certain except death and taxes," didn't know Dick. Before achieving Sith Lord status Dick Cheney was CEO of Halliburton. During his tenure, Halliburton's offshore tax havens went from nine to 44 and its taxes shrank from paying $302 million to an $85 million refund. This tax me if you can scheme has shifted the tax burden to people, like me, who shower after they get off work. In 1940 the taxes were pretty evenly divided--about half were paid by corporations and about half were paid by individuals. Now corporations pay 13.7% and individuals pay 86.3%. The IRS estimates these tax dodge schemes cost the American Government approximately $70 billion per year. Charles Rossotti, IRS Commissioner from 1997 to 2002 estimates it at closer to $250 to $350 billion a year, or about 15%. And today the Republican controlled congress celebrating carving $40 billion out of the budget by reducing spending for low income sick people and child support and student loans. These guys make my penis itch.