Amanda unBoomed
Net Neutrality
click photos for video...video...video...photos


Site News

Need unpaid headline
editor for European media.

subscribe free
about us
contact us

News

today's news
most mailed
news archives
features archives


click for audio

Stop Bush

censure
impeach

Alito

record
DINOs
defeat Nelson (D-Ne)

Libby

indictment
plame:stories
updated timeline

Disaster

Timeline
Bush Watch
New York Times
Washington Post

Info

bush bio
cheney bio
bushlexia
impeach?
democrats

Opinion

brasch
clothier
christine
fisher
floyd
higgs
interviews
ireland
jenkins
mickey z
miller
ostroy
partridge
politex
pringle
smith
southard
stasi
uhler
van wey
weiner
guests

Senate

contact
votes
bushocrats

'Scripts

MSNBC
CNN
PBS NEWSHOUR

Arts

politexts
our novel
toons
comedy
canada
garlic
songs
poems
demonology
texas politics

Special

words
lies
media
economy
nukes
theocons
neocons
u.s. id card
fascists
social security
votes

Family

family timeline
anti-semitism
dyslexia
midland
drugs
dwi
abortion
awol
gossip

Activism

voter march
what can i do?

Archives

bush trivia
1st 100 weeks
need to know
go kyoto

Today's Bush Watch News:... roundup... specials... mainstream... united states ... canada... england... australia... latin america... europe... middle east... asia... africa... alternative... op-eds... feeds... ...get e-mail headlines

New Pages At Bush Watch: The Big Picture: A New Paradigm ... 2008 News and Opinion ... Gore Watch ... Canada: Harper Watch ... 2004 Election Stolen? ... Updated News Archives ... Our Spring Vacation

These are plates.
War in the Middle East, 2006: Photos and Discussion

Rewriting History: Bush Now Says Iraq Had Nothing To Do With 9/11 and No WMD's Ever Found

Q Quick follow-up. A lot of the consequences you mentioned for pulling out seem like maybe they never would have been there if we hadn't gone in. How do you square all of that?

THE PRESIDENT: I square it because, imagine a world in which you had Saddam Hussein who had the capacity to make a weapon of mass destruction, who was paying suiciders to kill innocent life, who would -- who had relations with Zarqawi. Imagine what the world would be like with him in power. The idea is to try to help change the Middle East.

Now, look, part of the reason we went into Iraq was -- the main reason we went into Iraq at the time was we thought he had weapons of mass destruction. It turns out he didn't, but he had the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction. But I also talked about the human suffering in Iraq, and I also talked the need to advance a freedom agenda. And so my question -- my answer to your question is, is that, imagine a world in which Saddam Hussein was there, stirring up even more trouble in a part of the world that had so much resentment and so much hatred that people came and killed 3,000 of our citizens.

You know, I've heard this theory about everything was just fine until we arrived, and kind of "we're going to stir up the hornet's nest" theory. It just doesn't hold water, as far as I'm concerned. The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East.

Q What did Iraq have to do with that?

THE PRESIDENT: What did Iraq have to do with what?

Q The attack on the World Trade Center?

THE PRESIDENT: Nothing, except for it's part of -- and nobody has ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a -- the lesson of September the 11th is, take threats before they fully materialize, Ken. Nobody has ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq. I have suggested, however, that resentment and the lack of hope create the breeding grounds for terrorists who are willing to use suiciders to kill to achieve an objective. I have made that case.

And one way to defeat that -- defeat resentment is with hope. And the best way to do hope is through a form of government. Now, I said going into Iraq that we've got to take these threats seriously before they fully materialize. I saw a threat. I fully believe it was the right decision to remove Saddam Hussein, and I fully believe the world is better off without him. Now, the question is how do we succeed in Iraq? And you don't succeed by leaving before the mission is complete, like some in this political process are suggesting. --White House Press Conference, 8/21/06

***<

Q. Is there a possibility that you may never find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? And how would that square with your rationale for going to war?

"...We'll find them. It'll be a matter of time to do so." --George W. Bush, May 3, 2003

President Bush yesterday defended his assertions that there was a relationship between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda, putting him at odds with this week's finding of the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission. "The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda: because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda," Bush said after a Cabinet meeting....--Washington Post, June 18, 2004

***<

Half of U.S. Still Believes Iraq Had WMD August 6, 2006. Did Saddam Hussein's government have weapons of mass destruction in 2003? Half of America apparently still thinks so, a new poll finds, and experts see a raft of reasons why: a drumbeat of voices from talk radio to die-hard bloggers to the Oval Office, a surprise headline here or there, a rallying around a partisan flag, and a growing need for people, in their own minds, to justify the war in Iraq....

"I'm flabbergasted," said Michael Massing, a media critic whose writings dissected the largely unquestioning U.S. news reporting on the Bush administration's shaky WMD claims in 2002-03. "This finding just has to cause despair among those of us who hope for an informed public able to draw reasonable conclusions based on evidence," Massing said....

Timing may explain some of the poll result. Two weeks before the survey, two Republican lawmakers, Pennsylvania's Sen. Rick Santorum and Michigan's Rep. Peter Hoekstra, released an intelligence report in Washington saying 500 chemical munitions had been collected in Iraq since the 2003 invasion....But the Pentagon and outside experts stressed that these abandoned shells, many found in ones and twos, were 15 years old or more, their chemical contents were degraded, and they were unusable as artillery ordnance. Since the 1990s, such "orphan" munitions, from among 160,000 made by Iraq and destroyed, have turned up on old battlefields and elsewhere in Iraq, ex-inspectors say. In other words, this was no surprise....

As recently as May 27, Bush told West Point graduates, "When the United Nations Security Council gave him one final chance to disclose and disarm, or face serious consequences, he refused to take that final opportunity." "Which isn't true," observed Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a scholar of presidential rhetoric at the University of Pennsylvania. But "it doesn't surprise me when presidents reconstruct reality to make their policies defensible." This president may even have convinced himself it's true, she said. Americans have heard it. A poll by Kull's WorldPublicOpinion.org found that seven in 10 Americans perceive the administration as still saying Iraq had a WMD program. Combine that rhetoric with simplistic headlines about WMD "finds," and people "assume the issue is still in play," Kull said. "For some it almost becomes independent of reality and becomes very partisan." The WMD believers are heavily Republican, polls show....

As Israeli troops and Hezbollah guerrillas battled in Lebanon on July 21, a Fox News segment suggested, with no evidence, yet another destination for the supposed doomsday arms. "ARE SADDAM HUSSEIN'S WMDS NOW IN HEZBOLLAH'S HANDS?" asked the headline, lingering for long minutes on TV screens in a million American homes. --AP, August 6, 2006

***<

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." --Dick Cheney, August 26, 2002

"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." --Donald Rumsfeld, March 30, 2003

"We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more." --Colin Powell, Feb. 5, 2003

There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. And . . . as this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them." --Gen. Tommy Franks, March 22, 2003

"Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly . . . all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes." --Ari Fleischer

"For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction (as justification for invading Iraq) because it was the one reason everyone could agree on." --Paul Wolfowitz, May 28, 2003

--more

The impact of Bush linking 9/11 and Iraq In his prime-time press conference last week, which focused almost solely on Iraq, President Bush mentioned Sept. 11 eight times. He referred to Saddam Hussein many more times than that, often in the same breath with Sept. 11. Bush never pinned blame for the attacks directly on the Iraqi president. Still, the overall effect was to reinforce an impression that persists among much of the American public: that the Iraqi dictator did play a direct role in the attacks. A New York Times/CBS poll this week shows that 45 percent of Americans believe Mr. Hussein was "personally involved" in Sept. 11, about the same figure as a month ago.

Sources knowledgeable about US intelligence say there is no evidence that Hussein played a role in the Sept. 11 attacks, nor that he has been or is currently aiding Al Qaeda. Yet the White House appears to be encouraging this false impression, as it seeks to maintain American support for a possible war against Iraq and demonstrate seriousness of purpose to Hussein's regime. "The administration has succeeded in creating a sense that there is some connection [between Sept. 11 and Saddam Hussein]," says Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland.

Polling data show that right after Sept. 11, 2001, when Americans were asked open-ended questions about who was behind the attacks, only 3 percent mentioned Iraq or Hussein. But by January of this year, attitudes had been transformed. In a Knight Ridder poll, 44 percent of Americans reported that either "most" or "some" of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Iraqi citizens. The answer is zero. According to Mr. Kull of PIPA, there is a strong correlation between those who see the Sept. 11-Iraq connection and those who support going to war....

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden himself recently encouraged the perception of a link, when he encouraged attacks on the US in response to a US war against Iraq. But, terror experts note, common animosity toward the United States does not make Hussein and Mr. bin Laden allies. Hussein, a secularist, and bin Laden, a Muslim fundamentalist, are known to despise each other. Bin Laden's stated sympathies are always toward the Iraqi people, not the regime. This is not to say that Hussein has no link to terrorists. Over the years, terrorist leader Abu Nidal - who died in Baghdad last year - used Iraq as a sometime base. Terrorism experts also don't rule out that some Al Qaeda fighters have slipped into Iraqi territory....

In the end, will it matter if some Americans have meshed together Sept. 11 and Iraq? If the US and its allies go to war against Iraq, and it goes well, then the Bush administration is likely not to face questions about the way it sold the war. But if war and its aftermath go badly, then the administration could be under fire. "Going to war with improper public understanding is risky," says Richard Parker, a former US ambassador to several Mideast countries. "If it's a failure, and we get bogged down, this is one of the accusations that [Bush] will have to face when it's all over." --Christian Science Monitor, March 14, 2003


Thursday, August 31

Framing "Fascism": The new GOP buzzword: "Fascism", Associated Press

President Bush in recent days has recast the global war on terror into a "war against Islamic fascism." Fascism, in fact, seems to be the new buzz word for Republicans in an election season dominated by an unpopular war in Iraq. Bush used the term earlier this month in talking about the arrest of suspected terrorists in Britain, and spoke of "Islamic fascists" in a later speech in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Spokesman Tony Snow has used variations on the phrase at White House press briefings.

Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pennsylvania, in a tough re-election fight, drew parallels on Monday between World War II and the current war against "Islamic fascism," saying they both require fighting a common foe in multiple countries. It's a phrase Santorum has been using for months. And Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday took it a step further in a speech to an American Legion convention in Salt Lake City, accusing critics of the administration's Iraq and anti-terrorism policies of trying to appease "a new type of fascism."

White House aides and outside Republican strategists said the new description is an attempt to more clearly identify the ideology that motivates many organized terrorist groups, representing a shift in emphasis from the general to the specific. "I think it's an appropriate definition of the war that we're in," said GOP pollster Ed Goeas. "I think it's effective in that it definitively defines the enemy in a way that we can't because they're not in uniforms." While "fascism" once referred to the rigid nationalistic one-party dictatorship first instituted in Italy, it has "been used very loosely in all kinds of ways for a long time," said Wayne Fields, a specialist in presidential rhetoric at Washington University in St. Louis.

"Typically, the Bush administration finds its vocabulary someplace in the middle ground of popular culture. It seems to me that they're trying to find something that resonates, without any effort to really define what they mean," Fields said. Pollster Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center, said the "fascist" label may evoke comparisons to World War II and remind Americans of the lack of personal freedoms in fundamentalist countries. "But this could only affect public opinion on the margins," he said....Stephen J. Wayne, a professor of government at Georgetown University, suggested White House strategists "probably had a focus group and they found the word `fascist.' "Most people are against fascists of whatever form. By definition, fascists are bad. If you're going to demonize, you might as well use the toughest words you can," Wayne said.

Framing "Fascism": Don't Accuse Bush Administration of Fascism, Letter to Bush Watch

There are clearly some Faschist-type tendencies and actions for which the Bush administration is respnsible, yet such a high-potency accusation would seem very imprudent in the context of any upcoming elections. Yes, if there were none of our traditional safeguards these [*&^%$#] would have already taken over completely...I grew up in Nazi Germany and am ever so often reminded of the Goebbels propaganda machine: The use of fear, distortion or silence on other matters which do not foster their power play. Unfortunately this has worked even with a free press! Free to mostly support the administration line...But this is the way people in this vast country have been reared and are still used to be treated---they have little idea or interest of what the rest of the world thinks of us and our selfish ways. We must concentrate on facts and they have recently been absolutely clearly contrary to anybody with a clear mind to support a continuation of failed policies!!!! --Gottfried Csala

Framing "Fascism": The Bush Fascist Index: 20 Characteristics, Bush Watch Analysis

"Fascism: Any program for setting up a centralized authcratic national regime with severely nationalistic policies, exercising regimentation of industry, commerce, and finance, rigid censorship, and forcible suppression of opposition." --Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Early on during the first term of the Bush presidency many progressives characterized Bush's statements and actions as "fascist" and, for dramatic effect, compared him with Adolph Hitler. While they were reacting to Bush policy, they also recalled that the U.S. government found that Bush's grandfather had illegally aided the Nazis during the 30's. Conservatives responded that the comparison was exaggerated, since Bush had not done the things that Hitler had done, like imprisoning and murdering European jews. Nevertheless, it's clear that it was Bush's fascist leanings that progressives were focusing upon. In comparison with what had came before, a trend toward fascism was seen in the early days of the Bush presidency, and became more pronounced after 9/11.

In 2002, Laurence W. Britt's Fascism Anyone? analyzed seven fascist regimes in order to find the common threads that mark them as fascist: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco's Spain, Salazar's Portugal, Papadopoulos's Greece, Pinochet's Chile, and Suharto's Indonesia. He found 14 common characteristics (reprinted below, with 6 additions by Umberto Eco) and concluded:

"Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not."

We think "maybe not." It's just a matter of degree. Reading the daily news, we come across numerous critics of the Bush Administration who document, point to, or warn about each of the characteristics used to identify a fascist regime. We're presently constructing a Bush Fascist Index, which will consist of 20 characteristics, each multiplied by a "grade" of 1 through 5. Your input is invited. Further analysis of the past as well as future events will likely change the total index score, once it is computed. --Politex, 03.03.05

Added 08.31.06: The Bush Administration's recent attempts to call its opponents "fascists" is just one more example of its ongoing strategy of projecting its own faults and weaknesses upon its opponents in an effort to "frame" an issue. --Jerry Politex

more: The Bush Fascist Index: 20 Characteristics

Framing "Fascism": Reclaiming The Issues: Islamic Or Republican Fascism?, Thom Hartmann

Genuine American fascists are on the run, and part of their survival strategy is to redefine the term "fascism" so it can't be applied to them any more. Most recently, George W. Bush said: "This nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation." In fact, the Islamic fundamentalists who apparently perpetrated 9/11 and other crimes in Spain and the United Kingdom are advocating a fundamentalist theocracy, not fascism. But theocracy - the merging of religion and government - is also on the plate for the new American fascists (just as it was for Hitler, who based the Nazi death cult on a "new Christianity" that would bring "a thousand years of peace"), so they don't want to use that term, either.

While the Republicans promote the term "Islamo-fascism," the rest of the world is pushing back, as the BBC noted in an article by Richard Allen Greene ("Bush's Language Angers US Muslims" - 12 August 2006): "Security expert Daniel Benjamin of the Center for Strategic and International Studies agreed that the term [Islamic fascists] was meaningless. "'There is no sense in which jihadists embrace fascist ideology as it was developed by Mussolini or anyone else who was associated with the term,' he said. 'This is an epithet, a way of arousing strong emotion and tarnishing one's opponent, but it doesn't tell us anything about the content of their beliefs.'" Their beliefs are, quite simply, that governments of the world should be subservient to religion, a view shared by a small but significant part of today's Republican party. But that is not fascism - the fascists in the US want to exploit the fundamentalist theocrats to achieve their own fascistic goals.

Vice President of the United States Henry Wallace was the first to clearly and accurately point out who the real American fascists are, and what they're up to. In early 1944 the New York Times asked Vice President Wallace to, as Wallace noted, "write a piece answering the following questions: What is a fascist? How many fascists have we? How dangerous are they?" Vice President Wallace's answers to those questions were published in The New York Times on April 9, 1944, at the height of the war against the Axis powers of Germany and Japan: "The really dangerous American fascists," Wallace wrote, "are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power."

In this, Vice President Wallace was using the classic definition of the word "fascist" - the definition Mussolini had in mind when he claimed to have invented the word. (It was actually Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile who wrote the entry in the Encyclopedia Italiana that said: "Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." Mussolini, however, affixed his name to the entry, and claimed credit for it.) As the 1983 American Heritage Dictionary noted, fascism is: "A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism." (The US dictionary definition has gotten somewhat squishier since then, as all the larger dictionary companies have been bought up by multinational corporations.)

Mussolini was quite straightforward about all this. In a 1923 pamphlet titled "The Doctrine of Fascism" he wrote, "If classical liberalism spells individualism, Fascism spells government." But not a government of, by, and for We The People - instead, it would be a government of, by, and for the most powerful corporate interests in the nation. In 1938, Mussolini brought his vision of fascism into full reality when he dissolved Parliament and replaced it with the "Camera dei Fasci e delle Corporazioni" - the Chamber of the Fascist Corporations. Corporations were still privately owned, but now instead of having to sneak their money to folks like John Boehner and covertly write legislation, they were openly in charge of the government.

Vice President Wallace bluntly laid out his concern about the same happening here in America in his 1944 Times article: " If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. ... They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead."...

In 2006, we again stand at the same crossroad Roosevelt and Wallace confronted during the Great Depression and World War II. Fascism is again rising in America, this time calling itself "compassionate conservatism," and "the free market" in a "flat" world. The RNC's behavior today eerily parallels the day in 1936 when Roosevelt said: "In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for." President Roosevelt and Vice President Wallace's warnings have come full circle. Thus it's now critical that we reclaim the word "fascist" to describe current-day Republican policies, support progressive websites that spread the good word, and join together this November at the ballot box to stop fascist election fraud and this most recent incarnation of Republican-fascism from seizing complete and irretrievable control of our nation.

Wednesday, August 30

"My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." --Bush Conservative Ideologue, Grover Norquist

For Whom is New Orleans Being Rebuilt? City Demographics Radically Altered With Many Black Residents Still Unable to Return

A year after Hurricane Katrina hit, only about half of New Orleans' population of 450,000 has returned. Many of those unable to come back are poor and African-American, drastically altering the demographics of a city that used to be two-thirds black. Investigative journalist Greg Palast reports from New Orelans. [includes rush transcript] Hurricane Katrina flooded 80 percent of New Orleans, destroying the city's infrastructure and displacing most of its residents. A year later, only about half of New Orleans' population of 450,000 has returned. Many of those unable to come back are poor and African-American. In the ravaged, mostly black neighborhood of the Lower Ninth Ward - only 1,000 of the 20,000 people who lived there before Katrina have returned. This has drastically altered the demographics of a city that used to be two-thirds black. Activists and residents have condemned the government's refusal to re-open the city's public housing projects and point out that while tourist areas are being developed, affordable housing is not being built. Many are asking, "who is New Orleans being re-built for?" --Democracy Now!

Douglas Brinkley, the Tulane University historian who wrote the best-selling account of Katrina, “The Great Deluge,” is worried that even now the White House is escaping questioning about what it is up to (and not) in the Gulf. “I don’t think anybody’s getting the Bush strategy,” he said when we talked last week. “The crucial point is that the inaction is deliberate — the inaction is the action.” As he sees it, the administration, tacitly abetted by New Orleans’s opportunistic mayor, Ray Nagin, is encouraging selective inertia, whether in the rebuilding of the levees (“Only Band-Aids have been put on them”), the rebuilding of the Lower Ninth Ward or the restoration of the wetlands. The destination: a smaller city, with a large portion of its former black population permanently dispersed. “Out of the Katrina debacle, Bush is making political gains,” Mr. Brinkley says incredulously. “The last blue state in the Old South is turning into a red state.” --Frank Rich

Tuesday, August 29

From Baghdad to New Orleans: Bush Does A "Heckuva Job" At Home And Abroad (excerpts) Frank Rich

...What’s amazing on Katrina’s first anniversary is how little Mr. Bush seems aware of this change in the political weather. He’s still in a bubble. At last week’s White House press conference, he sounded... petulant....Asked what Iraq had to do with the attack on the World Trade Center, Mr. Bush testily responded, “Nothing,” adding that “nobody has ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attacks.”...The president is still so infatuated with his own myth that he believes the public will buy such nonsense. As the rest of the world knows, the White House connived 24/7 to pound in the suggestion that Saddam ordered the attacks on 9/11. “The Bush administration had repeatedly tied the Iraq war to Sept. 11,” Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton write in “Without Precedent,” their new account of their stewardship of the 9/11 commission. The nonexistent Qaeda-Saddam tie-in was as much a selling point for the war as the nonexistent W.M.D. The salesmanship was so merciless that half the country was brainwashed into believing that the 9/11 hijackers had been Iraqis.

To achieve this feat, Dick Cheney spent two years publicly hyping a “pretty well confirmed” (translation: unconfirmed) pre-9/11 meeting in Prague between Mohamed Atta and a Saddam intelligence officer, continuing to do so long after this specious theory had been discredited. Mr. Bush’s strategy was to histrionically stir 9/11 and Iraq into the same sentence whenever possible, before the invasion and after. Typical was his May 1, 2003, oration declaring the end of “major combat operations.” After noting that “the battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September 11th, 2001,” he added: “With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States. And war is what they got.” To paraphrase the former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, this was tantamount to saying that the Japanese attacked us on Dec. 7, 1941, and war with Mexico is what they got. Were it not so tragic, Mr. Bush’s claim that he had never suggested a connection between the 9/11 attacks and Iraq would be as ludicrous as Bill Clinton’s doomed effort to draw a distinction between sex and oral sex. The tragedy is that the country ever believed Mr. Bush, particularly those Americans who were moved to enlist because of 9/11 and instead ended up fighting a war that the president now concedes had “nothing” to do with the 9/11 attacks....

A year after the storm, the reconstruction of New Orleans echoes our reconstruction of Baghdad. A “truth squad” of House Democrats has cataloged the “waste, fraud, abuse or mismanagement” in $8.75 billion worth of contracts, most of which were awarded noncompetitively. Only 60 percent of the city has electricity. Half of the hospitals and three-quarters of the child-care centers remain closed. Violent crime is on the rise. Less than half of the population has returned....Just as it brought huge generators to floodlight Mr. Bush’s prime-time recovery speech in Jackson Square a year ago — and then yanked the plug as soon as he was done — so it will stop at little to bathe this anniversary in the rosiest possible glow....As an opening act, Mr. Bush met on Wednesday with Rockey Vaccarella, a Katrina survivor who with much publicity drove a “replica” of a FEMA trailer from New Orleans to Washington to seek an audience with the president. No Cindy Sheehan bum’s rush for him. Mr. Bush granted his wish and paraded him before the press....It was up to bloggers and Democrats to report shortly thereafter that Mr. Vaccarella had run as a Republican candidate for the St. Bernard Parish commission in 1999....

Douglas Brinkley, the Tulane University historian who wrote the best-selling account of Katrina, “The Great Deluge,” is worried that even now the White House is escaping questioning about what it is up to (and not) in the Gulf. “I don’t think anybody’s getting the Bush strategy,” he said when we talked last week. “The crucial point is that the inaction is deliberate — the inaction is the action.” As he sees it, the administration, tacitly abetted by New Orleans’s opportunistic mayor, Ray Nagin, is encouraging selective inertia, whether in the rebuilding of the levees (“Only Band-Aids have been put on them”), the rebuilding of the Lower Ninth Ward or the restoration of the wetlands. The destination: a smaller city, with a large portion of its former black population permanently dispersed. “Out of the Katrina debacle, Bush is making political gains,” Mr. Brinkley says incredulously. “The last blue state in the Old South is turning into a red state.”...


Monday, August 28

From Baghdad to New Orleans: Bush Fiddles While Cities Burn (excerpts) Paul Krugman

Last September President Bush stood in New Orleans, where the lights had just come on for the first time since Katrina struck, and promised “one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen.” Then he left, and the lights went out again. What happened next was a replay of what happened after Mr. Bush asked Congress to allocate $18 billion for Iraqi reconstruction. In the months that followed, congressmen who visited Iraq returned with glowing accounts of all the wonderful things we were doing there, like repainting schools and, um, repainting schools. But when the Coalition Provisional Authority, which was running Iraq, closed up shop nine months later, it turned out that only 2 percent of the $18 billion had been spent, and only a handful of the projects that were supposed to have been financed with that money had even been started. In the end, America failed to deliver even the most basic repair of Iraq’s infrastructure; today, Baghdad gets less than seven hours of electricity a day.

And so it is along our own Gulf Coast. The Bush administration likes to talk about all the money it has allocated to the region, and it plans a public relations blitz to persuade America that it’s doing a heck of a job aiding Katrina’s victims. But as the Iraqis learned, allocating money and actually using it for reconstruction are two different things, and so far the administration has done almost nothing to make good on last year’s promises. It’s true that tens of billions have been spent on emergency relief and cleanup. But even the cleanup remains incomplete: almost a third of the hurricane debris in New Orleans has yet to be removed. And the process of going beyond cleanup to actual reconstruction has barely begun....Apologists for the administration will doubtless claim that blame for the lack of progress rests not with Mr. Bush, but with the inherent inefficiency of government bureaucracies. That’s the great thing about being an antigovernment conservative: even when you fail at the task of governing, you can claim vindication for your ideology.

But bureaucracies don’t have to be this inefficient. The failure to get moving on reconstruction reflects lack of leadership at the top. Mr. Bush could have moved quickly to turn his promises of reconstruction into reality. But he didn’t. As months dragged by with little sign of White House action, all urgency about developing a plan for reconstruction ebbed away. Mr. Bush could have appointed someone visible and energetic to oversee the Gulf Coast’s recovery, someone who could act as an advocate for families and local governments in need of help. But he didn’t. How many people can even name the supposed reconstruction “czar”? Mr. Bush could have tried to fix FEMA, the agency whose effectiveness he destroyed through cronyism and privatization. But he didn’t. FEMA remains a demoralized organization, unable to replenish its ranks: it currently has fewer than 84 percent of its authorized personnel....Maybe the aid promised to the gulf region will actually arrive some day. But by then it will probably be too late [for former residents and small-business owners.]...In America as in Iraq, reconstruction delayed is reconstruction denied — and Mr. Bush has, once again, broken a promise.


Friday, August 25...Next Posting, Monday, August 28

Op-Eds: Clothier, Brasch, Miller, Floyd, Ireland, Ostroy, and Pringle.

The Bush Diaries: Fiasco In Iraq, Peter Clothier

I just finished reading Fiasco last night, Bush--the appropriately-titled book by Thomas E. Ricks about your adventure in Iraq. A frightening read. And a fascinating one, for one who has no military knowledge or experience, since it describes in detail the lead-up to the invasion and its planning, and the grievous mistakes in both the strategy and the conduct of the war. We learn about all this often at first hand, from the notes and recollections of officers and men in the field. It did not surprise me to learn, of course, that the greatest failure was...

Canned Hunts: Bush, Cheney Back Ethics Challenged Pretend Hunters, Walter Brasch

Canned hunts attract not only ethics-challenged pretend-hunters, but ethics-challenged celebrities as well. Among celebrities who have participated in canned hunts, and who mistakenly believe they are hunters and not cold-blooded killers, are Vice-President Dick Cheney, who has been on several hunts in which the kill was assured; and Troy Gentry of the country-rock duo, Montgomery Gentry. In December 2003, Cheney and nine of his friends—including former Naval Academy and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), and some Texas high-roller Republican party donors—went to the exclusive Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier, Pa., about an hour’s drive east of Pittsburgh....

Ruthless Exploiters: A Little Poverty Never Hurt Anybody, Jason Miller

Earth’s ruling oligarchs and plutocrats have created and perpetuated a socioeconomic dynamic in which the destitute have little or no access to education, basic healthcare, decent employment, or even basic necessities. From the United States to sub-Saharan Africa to Southeast Asia, those isolated in despairing communities with crumbling or non-existent infrastructures find themselves mired in impoverished breeding grounds for crime, high birth rates, substance abuse, and AIDS. ...How humane and politically correct those monopolizing Earth’s bounty have become. Monarchy has essentially been relegated to the dustbin of history. Empire building through brute force is becoming an increasingly rare event. Certainly the ruling elite maintain potent militaries to exercise their right to “defend themselves” (as they are doing in Iraq and Lebanon). But more often then not, the masters of the human race have learned to wield their economic power like a heavy cudgel, capable of battering their foes into submission with a few swift strokes....

Ring Them Bells: Closing in on the Crawford Crimelord, Chris Floyd

For years -- years -- we have bashed and banged and clanged the bell on this theme over and over here at Empire Burlesque, and in the Moscow Times, and [Bush Watch] and anywhere else they'd let us come in with the hammer: actual crimes, clear-cut violations of American and international law, genuine offenses in the most literal sense, not just metaphorical transgressions against some moral law or political ideal. They are criminals by their own admission, have even boasted about their offenses: the unprovoked invasion of Iraq and all the putrid horror that has followed in its wake; the kidnapping of captives off streets all over the world and their "rendition" to secret prisons and foreign torture chambers; the "extrajudicial killing" -- i.e., murder -- of uncharged, untried individuals, including at least one American citizen; "taking the gloves off" on torture techniques that were carefully considered, in detail, in formal legal documents seen and signed by the highest government officials; and on and on.....

Race War: Why CBS's Owner Should Fire His CEO, Doug Ireland

Sumner Redstone, it appears, is in the mood to do his Donald Trump imitation. Redstone just hollered -- via the press -- "You're fired!" at wacko Tom Cruise. The Scientology star has been running around the world using his celebritude to try to get governments to be nice to Scientology, a notorious cult-racket....But if Sumner wants to swing the axe, he should chop off the corporate head of CBS, Leslie Moonves. Why? Because Moonves has just approved a programming idea as loony as anything to come out of Cruise's mouth, and a disgustingly dangerous one to boot....

War-Mongering: Bushevik Neocon Psychos Want to Invade Iran, Andy Ostroy

It began with incendiary al Qaeda-connection rhetoric and dire warnings of WMD stockpiles, designed to arouse Americans' fears of another horrific terrorist attack. It ultimately led to the invasion of Iraq, and an occupation that's been disastrous, deadly and never-ending. Apparently, the lessons of this debacle have yet to be learned, as a blood-thirsty band of delusional Bushevik neocons would love to invade Iran and go for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's head. According to the NY Times Thursday, these administration officials and GOP lawmakers are frustrated over what they believe to be the U.S. intelligence community's downplaying of the Iranian threat....

TeenScreen: Normal Kids Labeled Mentally Ill, Evelyn Pringle

Despite years of public outcry, based on recommendations by President Bush's New Freedom Commission to screen all school children for mental illness, TeenScreen is now being administered in the nation's public school system and children are being regularly diagnosed with one, or more, disorders chosen from the close to 400 listed in the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV" (DSM), also known as the psychiatric "Billing Bible."...Critics view TeenScreen is a main components in an overall pharmaceutical industry-backed marketing scheme pushed along by the NFC, aimed at recruiting new customers for psychiatric drugs. The NFC's report specifically identifies the target population Big Pharma is after when it states:...


Thursday, August 24

Rewriting History: Bush Flip-Flops At Press Conference (video above), various

Bush Now Says Iraq Had Nothing To Do With 9/11 and No WMD's Ever Found

Q Quick follow-up. A lot of the consequences you mentioned for pulling out seem like maybe they never would have been there if we hadn't gone in. How do you square all of that?

THE PRESIDENT: I square it because, imagine a world in which you had Saddam Hussein who had the capacity to make a weapon of mass destruction, who was paying suiciders to kill innocent life, who would -- who had relations with Zarqawi. Imagine what the world would be like with him in power. The idea is to try to help change the Middle East.

Now, look, part of the reason we went into Iraq was -- the main reason we went into Iraq at the time was we thought he had weapons of mass destruction. It turns out he didn't, but he had the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction. But I also talked about the human suffering in Iraq, and I also talked the need to advance a freedom agenda. And so my question -- my answer to your question is, is that, imagine a world in which Saddam Hussein was there, stirring up even more trouble in a part of the world that had so much resentment and so much hatred that people came and killed 3,000 of our citizens.

You know, I've heard this theory about everything was just fine until we arrived, and kind of "we're going to stir up the hornet's nest" theory. It just doesn't hold water, as far as I'm concerned. The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East.

Q What did Iraq have to do with that?

THE PRESIDENT: What did Iraq have to do with what?

Q The attack on the World Trade Center?

THE PRESIDENT: Nothing, except for it's part of -- and nobody has ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a -- the lesson of September the 11th is, take threats before they fully materialize, Ken. Nobody has ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq. I have suggested, however, that resentment and the lack of hope create the breeding grounds for terrorists who are willing to use suiciders to kill to achieve an objective. I have made that case.

And one way to defeat that -- defeat resentment is with hope. And the best way to do hope is through a form of government. Now, I said going into Iraq that we've got to take these threats seriously before they fully materialize. I saw a threat. I fully believe it was the right decision to remove Saddam Hussein, and I fully believe the world is better off without him. Now, the question is how do we succeed in Iraq? And you don't succeed by leaving before the mission is complete, like some in this political process are suggesting. --White House Press Conference, 8/21/06

***

Q: Is there a possibility that you may never find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? And how would that square with your rationale for going to war?

"...We'll find them. It'll be a matter of time to do so." --George W. Bush, May 3, 2003

President Bush yesterday defended his assertions that there was a relationship between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda, putting him at odds with this week's finding of the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission. "The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda: because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda," Bush said after a Cabinet meeting....--Washington Post, June 18, 2004

***

Half of U.S. Still Believes Iraq Had WMD August 6, 2006. Did Saddam Hussein's government have weapons of mass destruction in 2003? Half of America apparently still thinks so, a new poll finds, and experts see a raft of reasons why: a drumbeat of voices from talk radio to die-hard bloggers to the Oval Office, a surprise headline here or there, a rallying around a partisan flag, and a growing need for people, in their own minds, to justify the war in Iraq....

"I'm flabbergasted," said Michael Massing, a media critic whose writings dissected the largely unquestioning U.S. news reporting on the Bush administration's shaky WMD claims in 2002-03. "This finding just has to cause despair among those of us who hope for an informed public able to draw reasonable conclusions based on evidence," Massing said....

Timing may explain some of the poll result. Two weeks before the survey, two Republican lawmakers, Pennsylvania's Sen. Rick Santorum and Michigan's Rep. Peter Hoekstra, released an intelligence report in Washington saying 500 chemical munitions had been collected in Iraq since the 2003 invasion....But the Pentagon and outside experts stressed that these abandoned shells, many found in ones and twos, were 15 years old or more, their chemical contents were degraded, and they were unusable as artillery ordnance. Since the 1990s, such "orphan" munitions, from among 160,000 made by Iraq and destroyed, have turned up on old battlefields and elsewhere in Iraq, ex-inspectors say. In other words, this was no surprise....

As recently as May 27, Bush told West Point graduates, "When the United Nations Security Council gave him one final chance to disclose and disarm, or face serious consequences, he refused to take that final opportunity." "Which isn't true," observed Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a scholar of presidential rhetoric at the University of Pennsylvania. But "it doesn't surprise me when presidents reconstruct reality to make their policies defensible." This president may even have convinced himself it's true, she said. Americans have heard it. A poll by Kull's WorldPublicOpinion.org found that seven in 10 Americans perceive the administration as still saying Iraq had a WMD program. Combine that rhetoric with simplistic headlines about WMD "finds," and people "assume the issue is still in play," Kull said. "For some it almost becomes independent of reality and becomes very partisan." The WMD believers are heavily Republican, polls show....

As Israeli troops and Hezbollah guerrillas battled in Lebanon on July 21, a Fox News segment suggested, with no evidence, yet another destination for the supposed doomsday arms. "ARE SADDAM HUSSEIN'S WMDS NOW IN HEZBOLLAH'S HANDS?" asked the headline, lingering for long minutes on TV screens in a million American homes. --AP, August 6, 2006

***

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." --Dick Cheney, August 26, 2002

"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." --Donald Rumsfeld, March 30, 2003

"We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more." --Colin Powell, Feb. 5, 2003

There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. And . . . as this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them." --Gen. Tommy Franks, March 22, 2003

"Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly . . . all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes." --Ari Fleischer

"For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction (as justification for invading Iraq) because it was the one reason everyone could agree on." --Paul Wolfowitz, May 28, 2003

--more

The impact of Bush linking 9/11 and Iraq In his prime-time press conference last week, which focused almost solely on Iraq, President Bush mentioned Sept. 11 eight times. He referred to Saddam Hussein many more times than that, often in the same breath with Sept. 11. Bush never pinned blame for the attacks directly on the Iraqi president. Still, the overall effect was to reinforce an impression that persists among much of the American public: that the Iraqi dictator did play a direct role in the attacks. A New York Times/CBS poll this week shows that 45 percent of Americans believe Mr. Hussein was "personally involved" in Sept. 11, about the same figure as a month ago.

Sources knowledgeable about US intelligence say there is no evidence that Hussein played a role in the Sept. 11 attacks, nor that he has been or is currently aiding Al Qaeda. Yet the White House appears to be encouraging this false impression, as it seeks to maintain American support for a possible war against Iraq and demonstrate seriousness of purpose to Hussein's regime. "The administration has succeeded in creating a sense that there is some connection [between Sept. 11 and Saddam Hussein]," says Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland.

Polling data show that right after Sept. 11, 2001, when Americans were asked open-ended questions about who was behind the attacks, only 3 percent mentioned Iraq or Hussein. But by January of this year, attitudes had been transformed. In a Knight Ridder poll, 44 percent of Americans reported that either "most" or "some" of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Iraqi citizens. The answer is zero. According to Mr. Kull of PIPA, there is a strong correlation between those who see the Sept. 11-Iraq connection and those who support going to war....

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden himself recently encouraged the perception of a link, when he encouraged attacks on the US in response to a US war against Iraq. But, terror experts note, common animosity toward the United States does not make Hussein and Mr. bin Laden allies. Hussein, a secularist, and bin Laden, a Muslim fundamentalist, are known to despise each other. Bin Laden's stated sympathies are always toward the Iraqi people, not the regime. This is not to say that Hussein has no link to terrorists. Over the years, terrorist leader Abu Nidal - who died in Baghdad last year - used Iraq as a sometime base. Terrorism experts also don't rule out that some Al Qaeda fighters have slipped into Iraqi territory....

In the end, will it matter if some Americans have meshed together Sept. 11 and Iraq? If the US and its allies go to war against Iraq, and it goes well, then the Bush administration is likely not to face questions about the way it sold the war. But if war and its aftermath go badly, then the administration could be under fire. "Going to war with improper public understanding is risky," says Richard Parker, a former US ambassador to several Mideast countries. "If it's a failure, and we get bogged down, this is one of the accusations that [Bush] will have to face when it's all over." --Christian Science Monitor, March 14, 2003


Wednesday, August 23

Op-Eds: Floyd, Fisher, Weiner, Ireland, and Mickey Z.

8/10 Terror Plot Unravels: Pakistanis find no evidence against ‘terror mastermind’, Chris Floyd

Wow, who would have thought it? You mean there might be less than meets the eye about the Great London Bomb Plot, when George W. Bush singlehandedly foiled the imminent death of thousands of people by using his super-president powers of warrantless wiretapping? (That is how the story is being pitched by Bush minions like the cadaverous Michael Chertoff and the chubby-cheeked enabler of torture Al Gonzales, right?) But if even the CIA's old running buddies in the Pakistan secret services can't wring enough plausible evidence out of Rauf with their renowned methods of information extraction, could it be that the whole great googily-moogily is about to unravel? Wise man William Blum has this take:...

Theocon Watch: NO A.D.D. HERE, William Fisher

I can't tell you how comforting it is to know that at least a few folks manage to keep their focus regardless of what's going on around them. No Attention Deficit Disorder here! Take August 16, for example. In Iraq, there were the usual multiple car bombs and IED deaths. In Afghanistan, the resurgent Taliban continued to conduct lethal raids on Afghanis and Coalition troops. In Lebanon, a thousand people died and a million found themselves displaced by Israeli bombs. In Northern Israel, terrified families poked their heads out of bomb shelters, waiting for more sirens and more Hezbullah rockets. In Darfur, the genocide persisted unabated, while diplomats diddled. In Britain, the cops discovered an alleged plot to blow up UK-US flights. Here at home, poor people went on getting poorer, kids got sicker because they had no health care, and Katrina victims were still waiting for FEMA trailers. But August 16 was the day I realized that, despite all these cataclysmic events, some people were still keeping their eye on the ball. Because August 16 was the day I got an email from none other than Dr. James Dobson....

New Poll: Evangelical Christians Addicted to Porn, Doug Ireland

A new poll released this week by ChristianNet.com -- which bills itself as "the world's most-visited Christian website" -- in conjunction with Second Grace Ministries shows that those born-again, Evangelical Christians are addicted to porn....Christian right Evangelicals are, of course, always in the forefront of censhorhip crusades (see, for example, my L.A. Weekly article "The New Blacklist: How Corporate America is Bowing to Anti-Gay Christian Boycotts") But this new poll suggests that it's time to call the Christers' "culture wars" the "hypocrisy wars."

Satire: Bush Awards Himself the Medal of Freedom, Bernard Weiner

In a ceremony that took place in the White House underground bunker, Mr. Bush today awarded the Medal of Freedom to Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Chief Policy Advisor Karl Rove, and himself. "In addition to previous honorees Gen. Tommy Franks, CIA director George Tenet and Iraq administrator L. Paul Bremer, nobody has been more responsible for the successful policies of this Administration, both here and abroad, than these fine, dedicated public servants," Bush told a hastily-called news conference. "In all my years in office, I have never seen so many people work so hard to bring us to where we are today -- a respected leader in the world, and a country where all citizens are happily supportive of our policies."...

175 Years Ago: Nat Turner puts the South on notice, Mickey Z.

Two earlier slave revolts-by Gabriel Prosser and Denmark Vesey-had blazed the path and shattered the myth of African slaves as docile co-conspirators in their plight...but it was Nat Turner who brought reality into the homes of Southerners. Born in Southampton County, Virginia, the deeply religious Turner was prone to visions and dubbed "The Prophet" by his fellow slaves.


Tuesday, August 22

Op-Eds: The Latest From Carter, Miller, Uhler, Ostroy, and Pringle.

Our Anti-Democratic Government: The Bush Administration Assault on the Twin Pillars of Our Democracy, Ivan Carter

The Constitution's limitation upon the powers of government, and its separation of powers and system of checks and balances thereunder, serve as the basic structure of our democracy. Nevertheless, the Bush Administration's approach has been to subvert these processes to its own belief as to how government should be run. At the same time, while information serves as the lifeblood of democracy, the Bush Administration's approach, when it comes to governmental information of any sort, has been to subvert this principle as well; once again, to its own beliefs. This time, regarding what information, and in what context, the public, and even Congress, should know. The result has been an extraordinary assault...on the subtle underpinnings of what in effect constitute our democracy, and make America, America.

Fear and Loathing in the Occident: Why Do We Hate Them?, Jason Miller

Islamophobia is a mental and spiritual affliction. And our Western ruling elites bear the responsibility for inflicting it upon the psyches of the masses. Now that the Stalinist/Maoist regimes have collapsed or evolved toward capitalism and no fascist states with imperial ambitions exist (besides the United States and its few allies), the American Empire needed to find a new "enemy” to replace Stalinists and Nazis.

Much of the soft power employed by the leaders of America’s “top down democracy” stems from psychological manipulation of “the mob”. Mobilization of the masses against a common enemy “threatening the very existence of the American Way” has long been a staple in the United States’ ruling elites’ ongoing push to monopolize the world’s wealth, power, and prestige. And who better to vilify than Islamic people? Many are dark-skinned and live in developing nations, meaning their lives are inconsequential in the prevailing moral calculus of the West. The Middle East is predominately Islamic, its sands are oozing with crude oil, and it is home to Israel. From the perspective of the Empire, what better region to target than the Middle East?...

Bush's Iraq Quagmire: "Lions Led By Donkeys", Walter Uhler

Three years ago, while visiting St, Petersburg, Russia, three Russian friends pointedly advised me that the Russian news media was having a field day with the stupidity of President Bush. Why? Because he not only mispronounced "Abu Ghraib" each of the three times he mentioned it during his nationally televised speech the previous evening, he also mispronounced it three different ways. Which is why I'm curious to know what my Russian friends would say now, given the recent news that Mr. Bush didn't even know, until two months before his order to invade Iraq, that the country was largely populated by antagonistic Sunnis and Shias....

2008: Gore Right Behind Hillary in New Time Magazine Poll, Andy Ostroy

A new Time Magazine poll shows two very interesting things: despite her incessant triangulating and centrist-searching positions as she gears up for the 2008 presidential election, Hillary Clinton remains the top choice (46%) among voters, but not by much. The Comeback Kid, Al Gore, is hot on her trail (41%) in what could be shaping up as a major battle of the Clinton administration spin-offs for the Democratic nomination....

FDA Scandal: Merck Pushes Fosamax, Bribes Doctors, Evelyn Pringle

Merck's second-best selling drug, Fosamax, has been linked to jaw bone death, a condition that can involve severe pain, infection, loose teeth, exposed bone, loss of function and disfigurement, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. And yet sales of the drug remain steady with no decrease whatsoever.

Aside from causing unbearable pain that can not be relieved by ordinary painkillers, osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), can also lead to infections of the face and neck, headaches, bad breath, and difficulty eating. In severe cases, patients may have difficulty breathing or require a feeding tube to avoid malnutrition, according to the July 27, 2006, Sidney Morning Herald. The debate over the cause of the rise in cases of ONJ picked up speed in 2003, when Dr Robert Marx, chief of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Miami, wrote a paper in the Journal of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery and referred to osteonecrosis of the jaw as "a growing epidemic....


Monday, August 21

Letter: You Guys Are Patriots, Pac

Thank you for your courageous, heartfelt website. Bush says that anyone who is not with HIM is with the terrorists. In other words: any dissent is treason. But to quote Thomas Jefferson: "To criticize those in power, is the highest form of patriotism." You brave souls at Bushwatch are the greatest patriots known to me.

Bush Blows It: Finally, American Gets Wise To Bush Terror Tactics (excerpts), Frank Rich

THE results are in for the White House’s latest effort to exploit terrorism for political gain: the era of Americans’ fearing fear itself is over. In each poll released since the foiling of the trans-Atlantic terror plot — Gallup, Newsweek, CBS, Zogby, Pew — George W. Bush’s approval rating remains stuck in the 30’s, just as it has been with little letup in the year since Katrina stripped the last remaining fig leaf of credibility from his presidency. While the new Middle East promised by Condi Rice remains a delusion, the death rattle of the domestic political order we’ve lived with since 9/11 can be found everywhere: in Americans’ unhysterical reaction to the terror plot, in politicians’ and pundits’ hysterical overreaction to Joe Lieberman’s defeat in Connecticut, even in the ho-hum box-office reaction to Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center.”

It’s not as if the White House didn’t pull out all the stops to milk the terror plot to further its politics of fear. One self-congratulatory presidential photo op was held at the National Counterterrorism Center, a dead ringer for the set in “24.” But Mr. Bush’s Jack Bauer is no more persuasive than his Tom Cruise of “Top Gun.” By crying wolf about terrorism way too often, usually when a distraction is needed from bad news in Iraq, he and his administration have long since become comedy fodder, and not just on “The Daily Show.” June’s scenario was particularly choice: as Baghdad imploded, Alberto Gonzales breathlessly unmasked a Miami terror cell plotting a “full ground war” and the destruction of the Sears Tower, even though the alleged cell had no concrete plans, no contacts with terrorist networks and no equipment, including boots.

What makes the foiled London-Pakistan plot seem more of a serious threat — though not so serious it disrupted Tony Blair’s vacation — is that the British vouched for it, not Attorney General Gonzales and his Keystone Kops. This didn’t stop Michael Chertoff from grabbing credit in his promotional sprint through last Sunday’s talk shows. “It was as if we had an opportunity to stop 9/11 before it actually was carried out,” he said, insinuating himself into that royal we. But no matter how persistent his invocation of 9/11, our secretary of homeland security is too discredited to impress a public that has been plenty disillusioned since Karl Rove first exhibited the flag-draped remains of a World Trade Center victim in a 2004 campaign commercial. We look at Mr. Chertoff and still see the man who couldn’t figure out what was happening in New Orleans when the catastrophe was being broadcast in real time on television.

No matter what the threat at hand, he can’t get his story straight. When he said last weekend that the foiling of the London plot revealed a Qaeda in disarray because “it’s been five years since they’ve been capable of putting together something of this sort,” he didn’t seem to realize that he was flatly contradicting the Ashcroft-Gonzales claims for the gravity of all the Qaeda plots they’ve boasted of stopping in those five years. As recently as last October, Mr. Bush himself announced a list of 10 grisly foiled plots, including one he later described as a Qaeda plan “already set in motion” to fly a hijacked plane “into the tallest building on the West Coast.”

Dick Cheney’s credibility is also nil: he will always be the man who told us that Iraqis would greet our troops as liberators and that the insurgency was in its last throes in May 2005. His latest and predictable effort to exploit terrorism for election-year fear-mongering — arguing that Ned Lamont’s dissent on Iraq gave comfort to “Al Qaeda types” — has no traction because the public has long since untangled the administration’s bogus linkage between the Iraq war and Al Qaeda. That’s why, of all the poll findings last week, the most revealing was one in the CBS survey: While the percentage of Americans who chose terrorism as our “most important problem” increased in the immediate aftermath of the London plot, terrorism still came in second, at only 17 percent, to Iraq, at 28 percent.

The administration’s constant refrain that Iraq is the “central front” in the war on terror is not only false but has now also backfired politically: only 9 percent in the CBS poll felt that our involvement in Iraq was helping decrease terrorism. As its fifth anniversary arrives, 9/11 itself has been dwarfed by the mayhem in Iraq, where more civilians are now killed per month than died in the attack on America. The box-office returns of “World Trade Center” are a cultural sign of just how much America has moved on. For all the debate about whether it was “too soon” for such a Hollywood movie, it did better in the Northeast, where such concerns were most prevalent, than in the rest of the country, where, like “United 93,” it may have arrived too late. Despite wild acclaim from conservatives and an accompanying e-mail campaign, “World Trade Center” couldn’t outdraw “Step Up,” a teen romance starring a former Abercrombie & Fitch model and playing on 500 fewer screens....


Friday, August 18...Next Update: Monday, August 21

Blowback: Bush Policies Help The Terrorists (excerpts), Bob Herbert

Almost three years ago, in the immediate aftermath of the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Jessica Stern, who lectures on terrorism at Harvard, wrote in The New York Times that the U.S. had created in Iraq “precisely the situation the Bush administration has described as a breeding ground for terrorists: a state unable to control its borders or provide for its citizens’ rudimentary needs.” Ms. Stern went on to say, “As bad as the situation inside Iraq may be, the effect that the war has had on terrorist recruitment around the globe may be even more worrisome.”

The situation has grown only worse since then. While Republicans are savoring the political possibilities of a foiled terror plot, the spiraling chaos in Iraq and other Bush administration policies are contributing mightily to the anger and radicalism in the Muslim world. Ms. Stern, the author of “Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill,” said in an interview last week: “We’re in a world where Islamist terrorist leaders are teaching their followers that they have been humiliated. Well, first of all, it’s true that Islamic civilization has fallen behind economically, intellectually, politically. It was once the greatest civilization. That’s true. But the terrorist leaders teach their followers that not only is this humiliating, but somebody else is to blame — and that’s us. They say that we have deliberately set out to destroy the Islamic world and humiliate Muslims.”

While it’s not true that the United States is trying to humiliate the Muslim world, said Ms. Stern, “I think that as we contemplate our policy remedies today, we also need to think about how they may ultimately be used by our terrorist enemies to recruit.” The debacle in Iraq, and inhumane policies like torture, rendition and the incarceration of Muslims without trial at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, serve only to strengthen the appeal of militants who are single-mindedly dedicated to the destruction of American lives.

The U.S. needs to be much, much smarter in its efforts to counter this mortal threat. We should be focused like a laser on the fight against Al Qaeda-type terrorism. We need to ramp up our security efforts here at home. (Even as the terror plot in Britain was emerging, the Bush administration was trying to eliminate millions of dollars in funding for explosives-detection technology. Congress blocked that effort.) We need a new approach to foreign policy that draws on the wisest heads both here and abroad. And we need a strategy for withdrawal from Iraq.


Thursday, August 17

Op-Eds: Hersh, Clothier, Ostroy, Ross, Edney, and Gould

Washington’s interests in Israel’s war , Seymour Hersh

In the days after Hezbollah crossed fro Lebanon into Israel, on July 12th, to kidnap two soldiers, triggering an Israeli air attack o Lebanon and a full-scale war, the Bus Administration seemed strangely passive. “It’s moment of clarification,” President George W Bush said at the G-8 summit, in St. Petersburg on July 16th. “It’s now become clear why w don’t have peace in the Middle East.” H described the relationship between Hezbolla and its supporters in Iran and Syria as one o the “root causes of instability,” an subsequently said that it was up to thos countries to end the crisis. Two days later despite calls from several governments for th United States to take the lead in negotiations t end the fighting, Secretary of Stat Condoleezza Rice said that a ceasefire shoul be put off until “the conditions are conducive. The Bush Administration, however, was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks....

Bush Diaries: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Birds of a Feather , Peter Clothier

You're not going to like me for this, Bush, but I was watching the Mike Wallace interview with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sixty Minutes last night and I couldn't help but be struck by the qualities you share in common. Struck and, frankly, deeply disturbed. You don't believe me? Well, here's what I saw: I saw a man of cocky self-assurance, willing to shoot off his mouth at the slightest provocation, alternately bellicose and charming in an awkward, slightly sinister way, unable to listen, and sensitive to the slightest suggestion of criticism. Okay? And then there was the same glib dismissal of the possibility of any point of view other than his own, the same prejudicial partisanship, the same nationalistic arrogance, same readiness to exculpate his friends and castigate his enemies, and the same propensity to ward off serious questions with a jibe and the same sly mockery of the questioner. Same grin, hiding the same anger--in my judgment--and the same discomfort with himself as a public figure. Oh, and he had to close the interview because it was time to get off to his prayers....

It's the Busheviks Who are Terrorizing America , Andy Ostroy

We are indeed in a war with terrorists. We are being terrorized by the Bush administration. Playing the only political card they have left, the Busheviks have moved the war on terror to the top of their agenda, using VP Dick Cheney, RNC chair Ken Mehlman, Congressman, Senators, media spinners and the president himself to scare the bajeesus out of America in a desperate and pathetic attempt to repeat their successes of '02 and '04. Although we're not sure for how long, the thwarted British terror plot last week breathed new life into a dead presidency and gave the Republican-controlled Congress reason to believe they could retain power. But two new polls out last week spell serious t-r-o-u-b-l-e for Repugs, and as a result we can expect more and more political terrorizing here at home between now and November....

WMD, Blix and the great US projection machine , Sherwood Ross

There is a disturbing new report out that accuses the United States of reigniting the nuclear arms race. It's from no less an authority than Sweden's Hans Blix, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and later the chief UN weapons inspector who said that he could find no nukes in Iraq. Recall when Blix was scouring Iraq searching for WMD in 2002, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld predicted that Blix's search would be "a sham." Of course, Rumsfeld wasn't objective. He was beating the drums for war. His disparaging remark did more than hint at incompetence. It maligned the integrity of Blix and his colleagues. It also revealed Rumsfeld's penchant for what Freud dubbed "the projection mechanism" - attributing one's own traits to others. If anyone was "shamming," it was Rumsfeld. With his billionaire's budget for gathering intelligence and an army of thousands of spies, he was dead wrong to assert that Iraq had WMDs. It was Blix who got it right. Those who want to know what America has in mind for the Middle East, only have to heed what the United States accuses others of doing. The US "projects" big time....

Greed , Julian Edney

An essay concerning the origins, nature, extent and morality of this destructive force in free market economies. Definitions. Paradoxes and omissions in Adam Smith's original theory permit - encourage - greed without restraint so that in a very large society over two centuries it has become an undemocratic force creating precipitous inequalities; divisions in this society now approach a kind of wealth apartheid, and our values are quite unlike Smith's: this is an immensely wealthy society but it is not a humane society. Wealth and poverty are connected, in fact recent sociological theory shows our institutions routinely design inequality in, but this connection is largely avoided in texts and in the media, as is the notion that greed is a moral wrong. Problems created by greed cannot be solved by technology. We are also distracted by already-outdated environmental rhetoric, arguments that scarcities and human suffering follow from abuse of our ecology. Rather, these scarcities are the result of what people do to people. This focus opens practical solutions.

the morning news , Gwen Gould

morning wakens
glistening wet sun drops
on quivering leaves
whisper life

NY Times headlines
slip silently into my inbox
without the dramatic voice
of a newscaster

the words scream out
their horrific content
jarring the core
of my quiet

people are blown up
while they shop
ride the trains
travel to work

my garden vegetables
luscious green and swollen
from the monsoon-like rain
need weeding and tending

bombs
in the open market
kill innocent people
shopping for produce

I weed and spade
in dazed disbelief
tears mingled with sweat
fall on my broccoli

death is a high price to pay for fresh vegetables


Wednesday, August 16...Sorry: Sporadic Service Due to Server Problems

Op-Eds: Samples, Floyd (2), Weiner, and Mickey Z.,

Israel in America: Mad Dog On A Leash , Sheila Samples

I have been stunned by many things on the US political scene since I was jerked violently awake on Nov. 22, 1963. However, one thing that simply flew under the cuckoo's nest of my awareness was the total influence on our Congress; the control of our media, our courts, our universities, our entire society -- even our religion -- by the state of Israel. I had no idea. I've learned a lot about both Israel and the United States in the last five years -- most of which I fervently wish I didn't know. I learned very quickly in the wake of 9-11 that the neoconservatives in the US claim an ideological right -- the Zionists in Israel a theological right -- to do whatever they want to whomever they want whenever they want, and those who question their increasingly bloody aggression are labeled "anti-American" or "anti-Semitic." Those who protest are ostracized from both religious and patriotic society (not to be confused with "civilized" society) and are immediately bombarded with ridicule and vicious ad hominems. Some receive death threats. Some receive death.

I learned that there is a vast difference between Jews, or people of Israel, and the warmongering Zionists who control the state of Israel, just as there is between most American citizens and the cowardly neo-fascist chickenhawks who control the United States. The people of both regimes cry out against the barbaric genocide and ethnic cleansing perpetrated in their name -- they shriek, they march in protest, but the world media pushed the "mute" button long ago, and no sound emerges from the weeping masses. As these two "democracies" force their way across the Middle East, it's as if Charles Manson is stalking the innocent with a mad dog on a leash. Neither can be reasoned with, and no living creature in their path is safe. But it is easy to tell where they've been, because the landscape is littered with rotting corpses of innocent men, women and children, with mass graves and displaced millions fleeing for their lives....

Home Front: Dispatches from the War on America , Chris Floyd

While your attention has been diverted by the proxy war in Lebanon, the civil war in Iraq, the still-hot shootin' war in Afghanistan and the coming war with Iran, the Bush Regime been busy waging -- and winning -- another take-no-prisoners, give-no-quarter conflict right in the sacred Homeland itself: class war. I know, I know: we don't have "classes" in America. No, our society is flatter than a flitter; we're all born on the same level playing field, lined up together at the same starting gate, given the same amount of seed corn to plant on identical plots of rich topsoil. We're all subject to the same laws, which are applied equally to everybody, all the time, regardless of race, creed, color, national origin or sexual orientation. Who would deny these self-evident truths -- except perhaps for those same churls who refuse to acknowledge the seasonal beneficence of Santa Claus or the wonder-working power of the Easter Bunny? ...

Neo-Cons, Nabobs and Empire , Chris Floyd

It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it: it's time to take up the cudgels for the poor neo-cons. Day after day, these dedicated public intellectuals and hardworking federal officials are calumnied from coast to coast, accused of every crime under the sun. Who misled us into the bloodsoaked mire of Iraq? Who's pulling strings to foment a new war with Iran? Who's fanning the flames of Israel's assault on Lebanon, hoping to turn the entire Middle East into an arc of "creative destruction" that will transform the region into a pacified, profitable oasis of American power? Why, the neo-cons, of course, guilty on every count--or so we're told. It's certainly a pretty tale, satisfyingly simple like most cartoons, well-suited for a stirring film adaptation, a la "V for Vendetta." (Given the religious heritage of many neo-cons, perhaps Mel Gibson could be induced to take it on.)...

Bush & Co.: Desperate Desperados , Bernard Weiner

Lamont's victory over Lieberman revealed that the emperor has no clothes. Quick! Lights, camera, action! It's Rove's fear and "traitor" script, yet again. Hang on for a bumpy ride....

Why "they" hate us , Mickey Z.

Journalist I.F. Stone put it succinctly: "Every government is run by liars and nothing they say should be believed." In my lifetime, I've seen absolutely nothing to prove him wrong. For example, when the most recent alleged terror plot was announced, President George W. Bush dutifully trotted out this old favorite: "There are people that still plot and people who want to harm us for what we believe in." People want to harm us "for what we believe in." Repeat it often enough and it's bound to convince somebody, I guess...but is there really anyone out there who actually buys this line of reasoning? If so, please raise your hand because I'd love to meet you. I'd love to ask you: What exactly do "we" believe in and why would it motivate anyone to take down a commercial airliner? We're told it's our freedoms that irk so many people but does anyone truly assume that some of our fellow earthlings are motivated to plot and sometimes commit mass murder simply because we have the Spice Network? C'mon, if you're looking to get on someone's nerves, surely you can conjure up something far more infuriating. .....


Tuesday, August 15

Op-Eds: The Latest From Stasi, Bosworth, Jenkins, Miller, Pringle, and Kane

Tripping On Reality In The Land Of Make Believe , Dom Stasi

It’s cool and dry this workaday morning as I walk from my house to the car to begin my morning drive. It’s cool and dry just about every morning here. The weather makes this part of Los Angeles a very nice but awfully pricey place to live. No worries, though. Over the next few years, we’ll see big changes in both the weather and the American real estate market. Consider this. Since real estate is mostly transacted with borrowed money, property values vary in an inverse proportion to the cost of that money and the property’s tax assessment. So, though they might appear unconnected, property values like those in the hills above LA will plummet when the annual federal deficit is no longer servicable.1 When that happens – if it hasn’t already – countries such as China, etc. can be expected to call in America’s multi-trillion dollar loans. Then we’ll have to either conquer China, etc. in one hell of a nuclear holocaust or borrow more money from other faithful fast friends – Saudi Arabia perhaps, or Kuwait.

Of course that would come at an even higher rate, siphon major bucks from the U.S. economy, and require more diplomatic compromises. But beggars can’t be choosers. We have burgeoning debts to pay. Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul would allow us to hold some foreign creditors at bay while we ship them our jobs and pay the other foreign creditors with their money. Eventually we’ll get to where we can only service the interest, and that will spill over to all borrowers not just the big overextended ones such as the federal government of the United States. Such a fiscal dichotomy will surely send the prime interest rates through the roof no matter how hard the Fed tries to keep them artificially low as they did again this morning. But, since “Wall Street” reacted just as expected, little else seems to matter. Empires cost money. However, what that means to just plain folks is simple....

Welcome to Neo-Fascism 101 , Andrew Bosworth

Neo-conservatives decided that World War III is to be waged against “Islamic-Fascists” or “Islamo-Fascism.” Who is reading from the new script? William Kristol, Bill O’Reilly, Christopher Hitchens, Michelle Mankin, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter, Nick Cohen, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Daniel Pipes, Glenn Beck, Oliver North – even George W. Bush, prompting legitimate complaints from Muslim-Americans. Middle Eastern powers include pan-Arab socialist dictatorships (Syria), monarchies (Saudi Arabia), constitutional theocracies (Iran), and assorted fundamentalist movements. None are “fascist.” For three decades of political scientists, “fascism” is a phenomenon of industrialized societies and exhibits features alien to the Middle East....

Joe and Dick and that Thirty Three Percent , W. David Jenkins, III

Zany Cheney remarked at a recent GOP fund raiser that the violent fiasco in the Middle East was all the more reason for voters to keep the current leadership in DeeCeeVille intact come this November. The only thing more bizarre than his remark is the fact that about thirty three percent of American voters feel the same way. You know the ones: the people that Einstein was referring to. Y’know, you have to hand it to old Dead Eye Dick. Even in the face of mounting criticism from both his enemies and the neo-conservative brigade, he steadfastly maintains that Saddam Hussein and bin Laden were buddies, and that we’re doing just marvy in Iraq. He is our very own Baghdad Bob, ignoring the explosions in the distance, while telling us that everything is just fine. And nearly a third of the country still cheers him on. Who the Hell are these people? Sure, you can find them on the right wing forums, or watch them bloviating on television, or hear them on the radio, yet they’re next to impossible to find on the street....

Terror Nation: Lies, Injustice, and the American Empire’s Way , Jason Miller

Remember, good patriots, we are at war with Islam, Socialism, Communism, drugs, crime, illegal immigration, Gays, labor unions, liberal university professors, peace activists, environmentalists, Anti-Semites, secular humanists, and all those who pose a threat to the United States. Each of these groups shares culpability for the terrorism which has killed several thousand of US, British, Spanish, and Israeli citizens since 2001. They are a cancer upon the American Way and must be excised. Freedom and liberty will prevail despite their onslaught of evil. Suspension of civil liberties, concentration of power into the hands of the Executive branch, slaughtering hundreds of thousands of innocents civilians, collective punishment of millions through wanton destruction of infrastructure, widespread dissemination of depleted uranium, reduction of wasteful spending on “useless eaters” via massive cuts in entitlement spending, ongoing ethnic cleansing in Gaza and the West Bank, torture, denial of justice to “enemy combatants”, massive tax cuts to the wealthy, obscene increases in defense spending, propaganda blitzes to keep the public believing horrendous lies, preemptive war, reduced government restriction of corporate exploitation of humans and the environment, and continued neocolonial expansion are all essential to the United States fulfilling its Manifest Destiny and ending the terrorist threat. Remember, they hate our freedom. A pleasant fiction indeed for the United States’ ruling elite and their loyal supporters who violently reject challenges to their hubristic and fanatical devotion to American Exceptionalism and entitlement. Yet for those of us who prefer reality, the burning question arises. Who are the real terrorists?...

Government Investigation Finds Autism and Vaccine Related , Evelyn Pringle

According to the most recent CDC estimates, one in 166 children in the US suffers from an autistic disorder. Twenty years ago, autism only affected one in 10,000 children. For years now, studies have shown that exposure to mercury in childhood vaccines, not only causes autism but can also result in immune, sensory, neurological, motor, and behavioral dysfunctions similar to traits associated with autism. On May 21, 2003, after a three year investigation, "The Mercury in Medicine Report" was released by the House Committee on Government Reform, and stated in part: "Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines is likely related to the autism epidemic. This epidemic in all probability may have been prevented or curtailed had the FDA not been asleep at the switch regarding a lack of safety data regarding injected thimerosal and the sharper eyes of infant exposure to this known neurotoxin. The public health agencies' failure to act is indicative of institutional malfeasance for self protection and misplaced protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry."...

Amazing [Dis]Grace , Mad Kane

Our Bill of Rights, how sweet the sound.
It's kept our people free.
Alas, we're lost, cause Dub's unbound.
He flouts it joyfully.

Our founders told us to beware
The blight of tyranny.
Bush-Cheney threaten rights held dear.
It's time to dump some tea.

Exploiting danger, risks, and fear.
Exploiting Nine-One-One.
Bush brags we're safe within his care.
I fear that evil's won.

Unless we fight, we won't be free.
We must our rights secure.
It's time to oust the GOP,
And shove them out the door.
And shove them out the door.


Monday, August 14

Politics of Deceit: Dictator Bush's Scare Tactics Not Working (excerpts), Paul Krugman

Just two days after 9/11, I learned from Congressional staffers that Republicans on Capitol Hill were already exploiting the atrocity, trying to use it to push through tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. I wrote about the subject the next day, warning that “politicians who wrap themselves in the flag while relentlessly pursuing their usual partisan agenda are not true patriots.” The response from readers was furious — fury not at the politicians but at me, for suggesting that such an outrage was even possible. “How can I say that to my young son?” demanded one angry correspondent. I wonder what he says to his son these days. We now know that from the very beginning, the Bush administration and its allies in Congress saw the terrorist threat not as a problem to be solved, but as a political opportunity to be exploited. The story of the latest terror plot makes the administration’s fecklessness and cynicism on terrorism clearer than ever.

Fecklessness: the administration has always pinched pennies when it comes to actually defending America against terrorist attacks. Now we learn that terrorism experts have known about the threat of liquid explosives for years, but that the Bush administration did nothing about that threat until now, and tried to divert funds from programs that might have helped protect us. “As the British terror plot was unfolding,” reports The Associated Press, “the Bush administration quietly tried to take away $6 million that was supposed to be spent this year developing new explosives detection technology.” Cynicism: Republicans have consistently portrayed their opponents as weak on terrorism, if not actually in sympathy with the terrorists. Remember the 2002 TV ad in which Senator Max Cleland of Georgia was pictured with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein? Now we have Dick Cheney suggesting that voters in the Democratic primary in Connecticut were lending aid and comfort to “Al Qaeda types.” There they go again.

...Whether or not there was something fishy about the timing of the latest terror announcement, there’s the question of whether the administration’s scare tactics will work. If current polls are any indication, Republicans are on the verge of losing control of at least one house of Congress. And “on every issue other than terrorism and homeland security,” says Newsweek about its latest poll, “the Dems win.” Can a last-minute effort to make a big splash on terror stave off electoral disaster? Many political analysts think it will. But even on terrorism, and even after the latest news, polls give Republicans at best a slight advantage. And Democrats are finally doing what they should have done long ago: calling foul on the administration’s attempt to take partisan advantage of the terrorist threat.

It was significant both that President Bush felt obliged to defend himself against that accusation in his Saturday radio address, and that his standard defense — attacking a straw man by declaring that “there should be no disagreement about the dangers we face” — came off sounding so weak. Above all, many Americans now understand the extent to which Mr. Bush abused the trust the nation placed in him after 9/11. Americans no longer believe that he is someone who will keep them safe, as many did even in 2004; the pathetic response to Hurricane Katrina and the disaster in Iraq have seen to that. All Mr. Bush and his party can do at this point is demonize their opposition. And my guess is that the public won’t go for it, that Americans are fed up with leadership that has nothing to hope for but fear itself.


Friday, August 11

Deceitful: How Bush and His Republicans Are Destroying Our System, Bob Herbert

...In a move that was typically and patently deceitful, Republicans in Congress tried to pass a minimum wage measure last week in which the biggest winners would have been some of the wealthiest people in America. The G.O.P. has tended to fight minimum wage hikes the way the Hatfields battled the McCoys. But suddenly this summer, Republicans discovered minimum wage legislation that they could truly love. G.O.P. leaders in Congress linked a modest increase in the minimum wage to a whopping decrease in the estate tax. The cut in the estate tax would have cost the government at least $268 billion in revenue over the next decade, and probably a lot more.

In exchange for this estate tax bonanza for the fabulously wealthy, the G.O.P. was willing to approve a $2.10-an-hour increase, stretched over three years, in the miserly $5.15-an-hour minimum wage. It was made clear that any Democrats who dared oppose this raid on the Treasury would be targeted by Republicans as obstructionists blocking a sorely needed wage hike for the lowest-paid workers in the nation. I’m for an increase in the minimum wage and against a cut in the estate tax. But that’s not the point here. The point is the extent to which the Republican Party is willing to engage in deceit to try and achieve ends it could not achieve any other way. The latest incarnation of the Republican Party has taken deceit in government and politics to dangerous new extremes, and it’s time to call a halt to it....

These are folks who will tell you that up is down, and punish you for insisting that up is up. It is in that same deceitful and vengeful spirit that the party is now attacking Democratic senators who managed to hold fast, under the leadership of the minority leader, Harry Reid, to defeat the legislation that cynically tied the estate tax windfall to an increase in the minimum wage. The National Republican Senatorial Committee declared that Maria Cantwell, a Democratic senator from Washington who voted against the bogus bill, “decided that giving in to pressure from her party’s leadership was more important than voting to raise the federal minimum wage.” Senator Cantwell, who is up for re-election this year, favors an increase in the minimum wage, as does her party’s leadership. It has been the Democratic Party that has been pushing for years for an increase in the minimum wage, but there is no room for that reality in the G.O.P.’s corrosive culture of deceit.

The buying power of the minimum wage is at a 50-year low. Members of Congress have raised their own pay by $31,600 since the last increase in the minimum wage nine years ago. For Republicans to exploit the plight of workers buried in economic hardship in order to put millions of additional dollars into the portfolios of the already wealthy is beyond egregious....Regrettably, there is always a certain amount of deceit in politics. Republicans do not have a monopoly on it. But for a system like ours to work even reasonably well, governmental deceit has to be held within certain limits. Otherwise the system will break down. Today’s Republican Party has gone far beyond those limits.


Thursday, August 10

A Cautionary Note: It's All About Who You Sleep With , Michael Moore

Friends,

Let the resounding defeat of Senator Joe Lieberman send a cold shiver down the spine of every Democrat who supported the invasion of Iraq and who continues to support, in any way, this senseless, immoral, unwinnable war. Make no mistake about it: We, the majority of Americans, want this war ended -- and we will actively work to defeat each and every one of you who does not support an immediate end to this war.

Nearly every Democrat set to run for president in 2008 is responsible for this war. They voted for it or they supported it. That single, stupid decision has cost us 2,592 American lives and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives. Lieberman and Company made a colossal mistake -- and we are going to make sure they pay for that mistake. Payback time started last night.

I realize that there are those like Kerry and Edwards who have now changed their position and are strongly anti-war. Perhaps that switch will be enough for some to support them. For others, like me -- while I'm glad they've seen the light -- their massive error in judgment is, sadly, proof that they are not fit for the job. They sided with Bush, and for that, they may never enter the promised land.

To Hillary, our first best hope for a woman to become president, I cannot for the life of me figure out why you continue to support Bush and his war. I'm sure someone has advised you that a woman can't be elected unless she proves she can kick ass just as crazy as any man. I'm here to tell you that you will never make it through the Democratic primaries unless you start now by strongly opposing the war. It is your only hope. You and Joe have been Bush's biggest Democratic supporters of the war. Last night's voter revolt took place just a few miles from your home in Chappaqua. Did you hear the noise? Can you read the writing on the wall?

To every Democratic Senator and Congressman who continues to back Bush's War, allow me to inform you that your days in elective office are now numbered. Myself and tens of millions of citizens are going to work hard to actively remove you from any position of power.

If you don't believe us, give Joe a call.

Yours,
Michael Moore
mmflint@aol.com
www.michaelmoore.com

P.S. Republicans -- sorry to leave you out of this letter. It's just that our side has a little housecleaning to do. We'll take care of you this November.

Op-Eds: The Latest from Politex, Ostroy, Weiner, Partridge, Fisher, Floyd, and Bosworth

Hillary's Pal Loses in Connecticut , Jerry Politex
Hillary's New Dem buddy, Joe Lieberman, lost the Connecticut Dem primary to Ned Lamont last night, 52% to 48%. The Bush Watch management backed Lamont, sending him cash to continue his campaign against the man who was kissed by Bush. Lieberman didn't lose simply because he backed Bush's war in Iraq. The fact is that our analysis of Dem votes in the Senate shows that Lieberman votes Dem only 50% of the time. The GOP story is that Lieberman voted Dem as often as Kennedy. That's a lie. Kennedy voted Dem 95% of the time. Meanwhile, Hillary's Dem vote is an anemic 70%. And as for Lieberman deciding to run as an Independent, that shows you how much he values the Dem party. The Repubs are gloating since Lieberman has split the Dem vote, possibly insuring a GOP victory, helping Bush to continue his legislation that strengthens his attack upon the U.S. Constitution.

'Sore Loserman' Vows to Split Democratic Ticket in his Delusional "Victory" Speech , Andy Ostroy
Politicians are usually known for their arrogance. But Joe Lieberman takes the cake. He's the first politician who after losing an election delivers a victory speech. "As I see it, in this campaign, we’ve just finished the first half and the Lamont team is ahead--but in the second half, our team, Team Connecticut, is going to surge forward to victory in November." In his "concession" speech to challenger Ned Lamont Tuesday night, Lieberman attributed his loss not to his own failed policies, support for the war, and perennial ass-kissing of President Bush, but to "partisan polarizing" by the Lamont campaign and voters. And it is these poor, naive, misguided voters--whom Lieberman believes really do want him as their Senator despite their 52%-48% rejection of him--for whom he's vowed to stay in the race....

On Nov. Vote: It's Now Or Never , Bernard Weiner
Republicans should be swept from power in the House and maybe the Senate in November, but the Dems might well pull defeat out of the jaws of victory, warns the GOP mole "Shallow Throat."

A New Coalition? , Ernest Partridge
The Democrats, believing they have an excellent chance to reclaim one or even both houses of Congress, are almost certainly heading for another huge disappointment in November. Because of their control of the votes, the GOP will win, regardless of the will of the voters. Might a coalition of Democrats and Moderate Republicans accomplish what the voters are forbidden: an overthrow of the Bush regime?

Screw up, collect reward , William Fisher
Millions of us shook our heads in disbelief as President George W. Bush made a cottage industry of rewarding the undeserving. The cast of characters is long and Orwellian. There's Jay Bybee, the Justice Department lawyer who famously wrote the "torture memo" whose twisted logic somehow blew off the Geneva Conventions and justified the interrogation techniques that brought us Abu Ghraib, Bagram, and Guantanamo. Dubya rewarded him with a lifetime appointment as a federal judge. Nor was Bybee's boss, White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, to be ignored. He got his reward by getting elevated to be the Attorney General of the United States - "the people's lawyer." Then came that breathtakingly Kafkaesque White House ceremony where the nation's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, was conferred on yet more deserving folks....

The fifty-percent solution: Catastrophe by the numbers, Chris Floyd

Two telling stories came over the transom this week – seemingly unrelated, except tangentially, as both deal with different aspects of the fiasco in Iraq. Yet together they provide an illuminating glimpse – like a discarded corpse revealed by a lightning flash – of the moral horror that George W. Bush and his sycophants have wrought both in Iraq and the United States. First, from the Catholic News Service: "Half of All Christians Have Fled Iraq Since 2003, Says Baghdad Bishop." Excerpt:...This imperial mendacity undergirds the second story in our lightning flash. This is an AP report – an excellent piece of work by Charles Hanley -- on the alarming poll showing that fully 50 percent of all Americans now believe that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction at the time of the Bush invasion. This number represents a hefty increase in credulity from the 36 percent of Ostrich-Americans who held this same false belief just last year....

A Rice-A-Roni Recipe for Cuba , Andrew Bosworth

Condoleeza Rice has an impressive resume. She helped destroy Iraq. She defended a head-in-the-sand administration in front of the 9/11 Commission. And she has played dishonest broker in the Middle East. Now, she is turning her attention to a project closer to home: Cuba. Her recipe for a post-Castro Cuba is mixes one part hypocrisy and two parts failure. Rice hopes to export “free enterprise” to Cuba, but in Washington that model is now one of corporate welfare for the rich and bootstrap capitalism for the poor. Her recipe for Cuba’s social and medical sector is one of privatization. Rice forgets that 45 million Americans are now uninsured; that US life expectancy is falling; and that the US is ranked 43rd among nations in infant mortality....What does Rice’s instant democracy look like?.


Tuesday, August 8

Op-Eds: The Latest from Uhler, Mickey Z., Lang, Chram, and Miller

Crackpot Christianity and America's Current Moral Degeneration , Walter C. Uhler
Although he might not agree with my use of the term "Crackpot Christians," Kevin Phillips is certainly correct when he claims that "the radical side of U.S. religion has embraced cultural antimodernism, war hawkishness, Armageddon prophecy, and in the case of conservative fundamentalists, a demand for government by literal biblical interpretation." [American Theocracy, p. 100] These Crackpot Christians are largely responsible for placing one of their own, George W. Bush, in the White House. Their astounding ignorance, unquestioning faith, war hawkishness, and fascination with the End of Time subsequently rendered them gullible to the Bush administration's lies and exaggerations about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (especially the apocalyptic "mushroom clouds") and ties to al Qaeda. Thus, they cannot escape responsibility for supporting an illegal, immoral invasion of Iraq....

Anti-War Activist Ann Wrigt in Jordan: Interview , Amanda Lang
Ann Wright is one of the high level diplomats who resigned in disagreement with the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq, its general foreign policy in the Middle East, lack of foreign policy on North Korea, and the constant and consistent erosions of civil liberties in the US. Retiring as a Colonel from the US Army after 29 years, Ann then spent 16 years in the US Diplomatic Corps. Since her resignation March 19, 2003 the day before the US bombed Iraq, Ann has worked tirelessly to bring an end to the US occupation. Most recently, she traveled to Jordan to meet with members of the Iraq parliament to discuss the Bush administration's refusal to consider the new Iraqi government's 28 Point Plan. .....

This Woman Really Wanted People To Stare At Her Chest , Mickey Z.
A woman walks into the gym... no, this is not the opening line to a joke. The woman enters the gym wearing a very tight blue t-shirt bearing the images of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush across her chest. Under the two war criminals are the words: "Dumb and Dumber." The woman has customized this shirt by cutting off the sleeves and turning a crew neck into a v-neck. The "V" she has created plunged low... down to cleavage level. A Bush smiles at me blankly from either side the V's lowest point.....

Is There Anything From the Bush Administration That We Believe? , Trebor Chram
It seems to me that just about everything we are being told by our government and our news media is questionable since Bush took office in 2000. Maybe the past was also covered in lies, but it seems that since this man's shadow was cast over our country (and world) every speech, every law, every action he takes is not what it was perceived to be. Also, many events taking place in the world are not really due to the explanations we are given by our government and our media. All of us have been told by this president and by Israel that the Lebanon invasion was a last minute decision on the part of Israel to rescue two soldiers "kidnapped" by Hezbolah in Lebanon. But if we pay close attention, we learn that the "kidnap" story was as much an excuse to invade Lebanon as WMDs were the excuse for Bush to invade Iraq. Many worldwide media told a different story. These two Israeli soldiers were "captured" while on a military mission deep inside Lebanon territory. We also learn that Dick Cheney had had a lengthy meeting with a couple of high-up Israeli government figures about a month before the invasion. .....

Can you say hidden agenda? by Jason Miller
The Discovery Institute's True Raison d’être and Why We Need to Be Deeply Concerned

"In 1998, members of a Seattle nonprofit think tank drafted a secret five-year plan with an ambitious goal: to "defeat scientific materialism" and "replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God...."
Monday, August 7

Recession? Workers Ask "Where's the Beef?" As Economy Worsens (excerpts) , Paul Krugman

...People have starting talking seriously about a possible recession. And it’s not just economists who seem worried. Goldman Sachs recently reported that the confidence of chief executives at major corporations has plunged; a clear majority of C.E.O.’s now say that conditions in the world economy, and the U.S. economy in particular, are worsening rather than improving. On the face of it, this loss of faith seems strange. Recent growth and jobs numbers have been disappointing, but not disastrous. But economic numbers don’t speak for themselves. They always have to be interpreted as part of a story. And the latest numbers, while not that bad taken out of context, seem inconsistent with the stories optimists were telling about the U.S. economy.

The key point is that the forces that caused a recession five years ago never went away. Business spending hasn’t really recovered from the slump it went into after the technology bubble burst: nonresidential investment as a share of G.D.P., though up a bit from its low point, is still far below its levels in the late 1990’s. Also, the trade deficit has doubled since 2000, diverting a lot of demand away from goods produced in the United States. Nonetheless, the economy grew fairly fast over the last three years, mainly thanks to a gigantic housing boom. This boom led directly to unprecedented spending on home construction. It also allowed consumers to convert rising home values into cash through mortgage refinancing, so that consumer spending could run far ahead of families’ incomes. (Americans have been spending more than they earn for the past year and a half.)

Even optimists generally concede that the housing boom must eventually end, and that consumers will eventually have to start saving again. But the conventional wisdom was that housing would have a “soft landing” — that the boom would taper off gradually, and that other sources of growth would take its place. You might say that the theory was that business investment and exports would stand up as housing stood down. The latest numbers suggest, however, that this theory isn’t working.... Signs of a deflating housing bubble began appearing a year ago, but for a while it was possible to argue that eliminating a bit of “froth” in the housing market wouldn’t do the overall economy much harm. Now, for the first time, problems in the housing market are starting to seriously reduce economic growth: the latest G.D.P. data show real residential investment falling at an accelerating pace. The latest job numbers show falling employment in home construction, and retail employment has fallen over the past year, suggesting that consumer spending is running out of steam....

Meanwhile, neither business investment nor exports seem to be growing fast enough to make up for the housing slump....A snarky but accurate description of monetary policy over the past five years is that the Federal Reserve successfully replaced the technology bubble with a housing bubble. But where will the Fed find another bubble? And with the budget still deep in deficit and the costs of the Iraq war still spiraling upward, it’s hard to see Congress agreeing on any significant fiscal stimulus package — especially because history suggests that the Bush administration and Congressional leaders will turn any debate about how to help the economy into yet another attempt to smuggle in tax cuts for the wealthy. One last thing: the real wages of most workers fell during the “Bush boom” of the last three years. If that boom, such as it was, is already over, workers have every right to ask, “Is that it?”


Friday, August 4

The Villain: Killing Lebanese Civilians Does Not Help Israel's Cause (excerpts) , Paul Krugman

For Americans who care deeply about Israel, one of the truly nightmarish things about the war in Lebanon has been watching Israel repeat the same mistakes the United States made in Iraq. It’s as if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been possessed by the deranged spirit of Donald Rumsfeld. Yes, I know that there are big differences in the origins of the two wars. There’s no question of this war having been sold on false pretenses; unlike America in Iraq, Israel is clearly acting in self-defense. But both Clausewitz and Sherman were right: war is both a continuation of policy by other means, and all hell. It’s a terrible mistake to start a major military operation, regardless of the moral justification, unless you have very good reason to believe that the action will improve matters.

The most compelling argument against an invasion of Iraq wasn’t the suspicion many of us had, which turned out to be correct, that the administration’s case for war was fraudulent. It was the fact that the real reason government officials and many pundits wanted a war — their belief that if the United States used its military might to “hit someone” in the Arab world, never mind exactly who, it would shock and awe Islamic radicals into giving up terrorism — was, all too obviously, a childish fantasy. And the results of going to war on the basis of that fantasy were predictably disastrous: the fiasco in Iraq has ended up demonstrating the limits of U.S. power, strengthening radical Islam — especially radical Shiites allied with Iran, a group that includes Hezbollah — and losing America the moral high ground.

What I never expected was that Israel — a nation that has unfortunately had plenty of experience with both war and insurgency — would be susceptible to similar fantasies. Yet that’s what seems to have happened. There is a case for a full-scale Israeli ground offensive against Hezbollah. It may yet come to that, if Israel can’t find any other way to protect itself. There is also a case for restraint — limited counterstrikes combined with diplomacy, an effort to get other players to rein Hezbollah in, with the option of that full-scale offensive always in the background. But the actual course Israel has chosen — a bombing campaign that clearly isn’t crippling Hezbollah, but is destroying Lebanon’s infrastructure and killing lots of civilians — achieves the worst of both worlds. Presumably there were people in the Israeli government who assured the political leadership that a rain of smart bombs would smash and/or intimidate Hezbollah into submission. Those people should be fired.

Israel’s decision to rely on shock and awe rather than either diplomacy or boots on the ground, like the U.S. decision to order the U.N. inspectors out and invade Iraq without sufficient troops or a plan to stabilize the country, is having the opposite of its intended effect. Hezbollah has acquired heroic status, while Israel has both damaged its reputation as a regional superpower and made itself a villain in the eyes of the world....As this column was going to press, Israel — responding to the horror at Qana, where missiles killed dozens of civilians, many of them children — announced a 48-hour suspension of aerial bombardment. But why resume that bombardment when the 48 hours are up? The hard truth is that Israel needs, for its own sake, to stop a bombing campaign that is making its enemies stronger, not weaker.


Thursday, August 3

Op-Eds: Chris Floyd, Chuck van Wey, and Bobbie Christian

CYA agents: Bush hit men running scared' , Chris Floyd

Like a gang of twitchy hit men afraid they've botched the job, the Bush Regime is creeping back to the scene of the crime: the Congressional backrooms where they thought they'd put the kibosh on the American Republic once and for all. But it seems there is still a flicker of life in the victim -- and thus a threat that the gangsters might have to face the music somewhere down the line. So they went back to the bagmen on Capitol Hill this week, ordering their minions to provide retroactive legal cover for the rank offenses committed by the big boys at the top when they devised their torture regimen -- in knowing, deliberate violation of the U.S. War Crimes Act....

Bush and Blair: Two Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Charles van Wey

I took a day off from work recently to get some things done around the house, but a quick check of CNN to assure myself, given the current birth panging of freedom, that the Golden Gate Bridge or the Statue of Liberty hadn’t been laid waste while I slept, I was soon sucked back into the numbingly repetitive nightmare from which I cannot wake. Yes, I watched their press conference. They repeated the same old lies. Blair was somewhat articulate. Bush rambled like Nixon on the tapes, only in public and sober. Let’s be clear: Any hope we might have held that Blair would finally break with the L. Ron Hubbard of freedom, are now finally, emphatically dashed. There was a kind of sweaty camaraderie between the two as they fielded questions from almost skeptical reporters this morning, Bush’s meanderings translated into fruity English by his very own Jeeves. It was the fellowship of Leopold and Loeb, partners in homicidal crime, who also were congenitally incapable of grasping the enormity of their actions....

Israel and the U.S.: What I Believe , Bobbie Christian

Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon has not occurred because Hezbollah captured 2 Israeli soldiers (who were in Lebanon when captured) it was only the excuse to instigate a plan which had already been planned, by the Israeli Zionists, the US Neo-Cons and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The combined agenda is to instigate World War III, a Judeo-Christian/Islamic war, with the goal being for US/Israel Empire to conquer all Middle Eastern nation states in order to obtain their oil. The ‘excuse’ being flaunted by the USA and Israel is that it’s a ‘war on terrorism’ but the reality is that both countries and their lackeys, including Blair, know that the war in Iraq, the bombardment of Lebanon and Gaza is designed to increase terrorist attacks as independent nation states attempt to save their countries from the US/Israeli war machine which wishes to conquer them. The plan is to increase the conflict by drawing in Syria and Iran, which will give the USA an excuse to attack Syria and Iran and eventually, all oil-rich Mid-East nations....


Wednesday (PM), August 2

Op-Eds: The Latest from Partridge, Wiener, Mickey Z., Miller, Kane,
Floyd, Clothier, Stewart, and Martikean

O, Canada! , Ernest Partridge
Canada is what we were: a nation of prosperous, free and cheerful individuals, ever-willing to criticize their government through a free and diverse media, but all the while confident that it is their government, which they can vote out of office if a sufficient number of citizen-voters so desire.

The Fast Lane To Fascism: A Review of John Dean's "Conservatives Without Conscience" , Bernard Weiner
John Dean's important new book helps explain what lies behind the seemingly irrational behavior of Bush&Co. and why they've had such political success. The answer is downright scary.

The Long History of American Treachery , Mickey Z.
Commonly referred to by the German press as "Hitler's favorite commando," Otto "Scarface" Skorzeny was six feet, four inches tall and 220 pounds with, says journalist Christopher Simpson, "appropriately arrogant 'Aryan' features and a five-inch dueling scar down his left cheek,." It was Skorzeny that Hitler called upon to execute the daring rescue of Benito Mussolini when the dictator's enemies in Italy placed him under house arrest in 1943....Roll over, Machiavelli ...and tell Condi Rice the news....

Two Birthday Parties... AND The Middle East , Peter Clothier
I would be remiss, Bush, if I failed to take note of the first item of importance in the world today: the broadening conflict in the Middle East. Many more civilian lives lost over the weekend. More demonstrations of the failures of diplomacy and the intransigeance of participants on all sides. More smiles and handshakes exchanged for the benefit of the media's cameras, and more inauthenticity, hatred and distrust behind them. I take your Rice's assurance of some kind of a truce within the week with a heavy pinch of salt. The Israeli offer of a 48-hour cessation in its bombing assault is already compromised, I hear on this morning's news, by further attacks on both sides. There is no good news....

Imperial Rulers and the Deadly Games They Play: Lamentations for the Sacrificial Pawns , Jason Miller
Annihilated, maimed, or psychologically devastated because of the actions of their own governments, Western casualties of the “War on Terror” suffer insult upon death or injury as their mainstream media exploit their misfortune to motivate their fellow citizens to demand vengeance. Those whose blood lubricates the ruthless machinery of capitalist imperialism are indeed deserving of our deep sympathy....

Book Excerpt: "Errand Boy: The Revelation of St. George , Chris Floyd
Continuing with our excerpts from the latest, expanded edition of the Empire Burlesque book, here is an apropos morsel from June 2003, as George W. Bush -- flush with what he believes to be "triumph" in Iraq -- turns his hand to solving the Middle East crisis with the backing of his closest adviser: God....

The Ballad Of Joementum Joe Lieberman ("Danny Boy"), Madeleine Begun Kane

Joementum Joe, you've long outstayed your welcome.
You've let us down, it's time to pay the price.
You've been disloyal to voters and your party.
You're way too close to Rummy, Bush, and Rice.

Don't want you back, your war support is damning.
You've dealt democracy so many blows.
You could have blocked Alito, but you failed to.
Joementum Joe, Joementum Joe, it's time to go.

You oft behave as if your word's the gospel.
And show disdain for Dems who disagree.
You've helped Bush/Cheney harm our Constitution.
Your words and actions aid the GOP.

To be Dub's pal became your grand fixation.
Your acts betrayed Dem values we hold dear.
You cast aside the virtues of our nation.
Joementum Joe, it's time to end your Sen. career.

Bush: The Killing of People Will Continue Until There Is No More Killing Of Peoplebr> Bush will not call for an Israeli-Hezbollah cease-fire in order to stop the killing of people until he is sure there will not be any more killing of people. Meanwhile, the killing of people will continue. Unless the countries run out of people to kill. --Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, July 31, 2006.

Bush Is Sexist As Well As Racist...
...The video is readily available on the Internet if you haven't seen it. It shows Bush walking by Merkel and briefly massaging her neck and shoulders. She shrugs her shoulders and throws up her arms. But upon realizing who it was, she then appears to smile. When Bush went to massage the chancellor, it cannot be mistaken for anything but harassment. Why did Bush touch the only female at the table? He certainly wasn't giving back rubs to Tony Blair or Jacques Chirac. If it is laughable that the president would massage the shoulders of a male world leader, why is it less offensive, or even funny, that he should do it to a female world leader?

When the incident first was reported, the stories mentioned how Merkel seemed to smile after the incident. And after that, coverage of the story died away. What's worse, that this powerful woman has to endure the president's shoulder rub because he is in a position of power, or that people believe that her smiling makes it OK? It's a smile and a laugh that a lot of women know. It's the laugh and smirk women do when someone touches them when they don't want to be touched, but aren't in a position to make a big deal about it....Pioneering women in the last two generations have endured unspeakable harassment in hopes of rising through the ranks of power so that someday they would have the authority to prevent their daughters from having to endure such abuse [by men like Bush]...Jennifer Martikean.


Tuesday, August 1

The Future: Bush's Economic Dictatorship (excerpts), Part 4, Teresa Tritch

...The growing income gap — and the rise of the super-rich — demands attention. It is making America a less fair society, and a less stable one....

...C. The Too-Easy Answer

When confronted with evidence of growing income inequality, Bush administration officials invariably say the answer is more and better education. “We are starting to see that the income gap is largely an education gap,” said Trent Duffy, a White House spokesman, in a typical retort last January when tax data showed an increasing concentration of wealth among the highest-income Americans. Education is critically important to individuals, society, the economy and democracy itself, and deserves strong government support. But it is neither a satisfactory explanation, nor a remedy, for today's income inequality.

Today, according to the bureau, 37 percent of flight attendants have completed college, as have 35 percent of tour escorts, 21 percent of embalmers, and 13 percent of both security guards and casino dealers. Mr. Hacker notes that more people are expected to earn college degrees in preparation for well-paying professions. “But we cannot expect the economy will automatically create better-paid positions to match the cohort acquiring higher education,” he writes. Underscoring the point, the Bush administration's own Economic Report of the President in 2006 shows that average annual earnings of college graduates fell by 5 percent from 2000 to 2004. In those four years, the difference between the average yearly pay of a college graduate and a high school graduate shrank from 93 percent to 80 percent.

IV. The Future of Income Inequality

The fast-growing gap between the rich and poor and middle-class Americans is not something that has just happened. The Bush policies are an attempt to dismantle the institutions and norms that have long worked to ameliorate inequities — progressive taxation, the minimum wage, Social Security, Medicaid and so on. The aims that can’t be accomplished outright — like cuts in Social Security — are being teed up by running deficits that could force the shrinkage of government programs, even though the public would not likely condone many such cuts unless compelled to by a fiscal crisis. Such policies are grounded in an ideology that began taking shape some 30 years ago, when economic policy makers began to disdain the notion of harnessing and protecting society’s collective potential in favor of crafting incentives to align individuals’ interests with those of the market. This campaign has gone by many names — “starve the beast,” or “repeal the New Deal.” Economist Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, calls that approach “you’re on your own,” or YOYO....

The problem now is that most any attempt to reduce inequality — even a measly increase in the minimum wage — is rejected as misguided. And policies that under one set of economic conditions might allow for a justifiable modicum of inequality are pursued beyond all reason. For instance, the rationale for the tax cuts in 2001 was to return the budget surplus that Mr. Bush inherited from President Clinton. The rationale for the tax cuts in 2002 and 2003 and 2006 was to stimulate the economy. The surplus has long since been replaced by big deficits, the jobless recovery ended three years ago and inequality is on the rise....


To SUBSCRIBE, change your address, or unsubscribe,
go to http://bushwatch.com/mailman/listinfo/bushheadlinenews for Bush Headline News (over 100 selected headlines each day), and/or
http://bushwatch.com/mailman/listinfo/insidebushwatch for Inside Bush Watch (daily ep-eds, etc. that appear on this page).

Attention AOL and Yahoo Mail users.
Please do not use the report spam button to unsubscribe to this newsletter. As you know, we only send our newsletter to people like yourselves who have opted in to receive it, and its easy to remove yourself from our list. There are clear instructions at http://bushwatch.com/mailman/listinfo/bushheadlinenews on how to do so. Just scroll down to the end. Your kind consideration will be very much appreciated.


2005: June... July... August... September... October... November... December...
2006: January... February... March... April... May... June... July... August...

Bush Wrong On...Taxes, The Deficit, Social Security, Energy, Education, Health Care, Nuclear Policy.


NEOCONS | $$$ | RELIGION | SUPREMES | WMD | CIA | TAXES| ECONOMY | GAYS
WAR | EGO | LIES | BUSHLEXIA | EMPIRE | BIG BROTHER | AWOL | FAMILY | POLLS


SPECIAL REPORTS
Bush And The Carlyle Group
Bush And The Gravedigger
Bush And Bin Laden Money
Bush And The Arab-American
Bush And Central Asia Oil
Bush And The Taliban Drug Trade
Bush And Tony Blair's Speech
The Bushes And The Bin Ladens

MORE SPECIAL REPORTS
Ashcroft Watch
Keeping The Presidential Record
The Gore-Bush Media Consortium Report
Is AOL Censoring Your Information?
The Threat Of Domestic Terrorism
Airline Security Stories
War Poems
Patriotism
Tools Of Bioterrorism


About Us: Bush Watch is a daily political internet magazine based in Austin, Texas, paid for and edited by Politex, a non-affiliated U.S. citizen. Contents, including "Bush Watch" and "Politex," (c) 1998-2005 Politex. The views expressed herein and the views in stories that you are linked to are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of Bush Watch. Permission of the author is required for reprinting posted material, and only requests for reprinting a specific item are considered. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. The duration of the working links is not under our control. Bush Watch has not reviewed all of the sites linked to our site and is not responsible for the content of any off-site pages or any other sites linked to our site. Your linking to any other off-site pages or other sites from our site is at your own risk. Send all e-mail to Politex. We reserve the right to post all e-mail messages sent to us, along with the name of the e-mailer. You must specifically request that your e-mail message or your name not be considered for posting, if that's what you desire.