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Wednesday May 31

Op-Eds: The Latest From Floyd, Partridge, Weiner, Pringle, Miller, Mickey Z., Ostroy, Clothier, Ireland, and Fisher

Bush's China Syndrome: Hypocrisy, History and Twelve Kinds of Hell, Floyd
Sometimes a particularly choice piece of hypocrisy comes along, a wrenching juxtaposition between reality and sham righteousness so sublime in the totality of its horse-hockeyness that it cries out for special recognition. Such was the story in the New York Times today about the Pentagon's latest report on ""Military Power of the People's Republic of China."

Great Sign When Repugs Like Podhoretz Say Gore Can't Win, Andy Ostroy
It's common knowledge in politics that when the opposition tries to marginalize you and mock your viability as a candidate, the exact opposite is true and you're the opponent they'd least like to face. Conversely, when they anoint a particular candidate as the "frontrunner" and "the one to beat," what that actually means is that this is the candidate they really believe they can beat. And as conservative pundit John Podhoretz proves in his Friday NY Post column, such is starting to be the case with Al Gore and Hillary Clinton.

Swords into Plowshares, Ernest Partridge
The defeat of Soviet Communism did not result in a “peace dividend.” Instead it led to a desperate search for a new enemy to justify a continuation of the Military-Industrial-(Political-Academic-Media) complex. Then Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and “Islamo-Fascism” obligingly stepped forward to fill this role.

What's Important: Seven Pillars of Misrule, Bernard Weiner
Tectonic social-shifting is taking place deep underground. But what's happening on the political surface is vitally important, since that's where we all meet the world.

The Bush Diaries: An Indivious Comparison , Peter Clothier
I woke up this morning with this expression on my mind: "an invidious comparison." It sounded exactly right for what I had to say, but when I thought further I discovered that I wasn't absolutely sure of the meaning of the word "invidious." So I went to the OED, Bush, and now I understand why it's so right. The definition reads thus: "Tending to excite odium, ill will, or envy; likely to give offense; esp. unjustly and irritatingly discriminating." Not sure about "unjustly," Bush, but otherwise it fits to a tee.

From Zoot Suits to Border Walls, Mickey Z.
Imagine a time when Mexicans bore the brunt of patriotic (sic) fervor: physically threatened, targeted by legislation, an easy scapegoat for working class frustration. Surely I’m talking about 2006 AmeriKKKa, right? You know…the fascist police state ruled by Nazi Dubya and his cadre of brown shirts who cynically exploit good vs. evil rhetoric in the name of furthering their global agenda. Well…not so fast. Sorry to disappoint the lesser-evil crowd but this time, I was referring to events that climaxed 63 years ago this week…during the reign of liberal (sic) hero, Franklin Delano Roosevelt who cynically exploited good vs. evil rhetoric in the name of furthering his global agenda.

White and Might Make Right: Morality is in the Eye of the Oppressor, Jason Miller
Casting aside the history books written by the “superior” White race and viewing history through the lens of reality, one readily sees that European nations like Spain, Great Britain, France, and Portugal committed unspeakable atrocities against millions whose only “crime” was that they were born on the continents of Africa, North America, or South America....Rudyard Kipling encouraged America's fledgling empire when he wrote The White Man’s Burden. However, by that time the Unites States had already committed genocide against the Native Americans, engulfed half of Mexico and turned Hawaii over to a handful of wealthy White plantation owners. White Americans were already "bearing the burden" of ruling those who were "half-devil and half-child".

The Mouse On Steroids, William Fisher
We can’t be blamed if Venezuela’s mini-public diplomacy program reminds us of “The Mouse That Roared” – and you can almost hear the gnashing teeth in the White House SitRoom. I refer to the program being waged in the U.S. by Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez. Under that program, Citgo, Venezuela’s wholly-owned gas and oil subsidiary, provides discounts up to 60 per cent on heating oil to poor communities in the U.S.

Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline Help Send Kids To Prison, Evelyn Pringle
In 2003, the pharmaceutical industry passed out $16.4 billion worth of free drug samples to doctors. These so-called free samples are literally killing people. Two young lads who were lucky enough to get free samples of Zoloft are now sitting in prison....These lethal selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants (SSRIs) are being passed out to kids like candy. Dr Thomas Moore, MD, with the Drug Safety Research group, conducted a study on the use of antidepressant drugs with children that showed that in the 4-period of 1998 to 2001, the use of SSRIs with children doubled and in 90% of the cases the drugs were prescribed off-label to kids for uses not approved by the FDA.

Moscow Police Arrest Gay Pride Leader and 50-100 Others At Banned March, Doug Ireland
Moscow's police --1000 of whom were deployed to enforce Mayor Yuri Luzhkov's ban on a Gay Pride March scheduled for today -- have arrested Nicolas Alexeyev, principal organizer of the banned, first-ever Pride March in Russia's capitol, the Russian news agency Interfax has reported. Alexeyev was arrested while attempting to lay flowers at Russia's World War II-era Tomb of the Unknown Soldier...The choice of the Tomb for the wreath-laying was designed to emphasize the links between the struggle against Nazi Germany and the fight for the rights of gay people.

***

Daily Kos: Chris Does Not Play Well With Others, Chris Floyd
Last week, I was banned from contributing to Daily Kos, apparently for criticizing the Democratic cave-in on Peeper Hayden's CIA nomination a bit too forcefully. At least I think that was the reason; maybe they just didn't like the cut of my jib, I don't know....Second, I'd like to address the Jason Leopold controversy, since that was drawn into the accuasations against me and probably contributed to the banning as well.

Background: Bloggers at Daily Kos Demand Retraction by Truthout.org (scroll down), Various
"I am really steamed at Truthout for their May 13th article written by Jason Leopold. As you all know, if we lived in Leopold's version of reality Rove would already be indicted...."


Tuesday, May 30

Dirty Players: Don't Expect The Polluters and Their Paid Professorial Liars To Play Clean (excerpts), Paul Krugman

A brief segment in "An Inconvenient Truth" shows Senator Al Gore questioning James Hansen, a climatologist at NASA, during a 1989 hearing. But the movie doesn't give you much context, or tell you what happened to Dr. Hansen later. And that's a story worth telling, for two reasons. It's a good illustration of the way interest groups can create the appearance of doubt even when the facts are clear and cloud the reputations of people who should be regarded as heroes. And it's a warning for Mr. Gore and others who hope to turn global warming into a real political issue: you're going to have to get tougher, because the other side doesn't play by any known rules....

But soon after Dr. Hansen's 1988 testimony, energy companies began a campaign to create doubt about global warming, in spite of the increasingly overwhelming evidence. And in the late 1990's, climate skeptics began a smear campaign against Dr. Hansen himself. Leading the charge was Patrick Michaels, a professor at the University of Virginia who has received substantial financial support from the energy industry. In Senate testimony, and then in numerous presentations, Dr. Michaels claimed that the actual pace of global warming was falling far short of Dr. Hansen's predictions. As evidence, he presented a chart supposedly taken from a 1988 paper written by Dr. Hansen and others, which showed a curve of rising temperatures considerably steeper than the trend that has actually taken place. In fact, the chart Dr. Michaels showed was a fraud — that is, it wasn't what Dr. Hansen actually predicted....

The experts at www.realclimate.org, the go-to site for climate science, suggest that the smears against Dr. Hansen "might be viewed by some as a positive sign, indicative of just how intellectually bankrupt the contrarian movement has become." But I think they're misreading the situation. In fact, the smears have been around for a long time, and Dr. Hansen has been trying to correct the record for years. Yet the claim that Dr. Hansen vastly overpredicted global warming has remained in circulation, and has become a staple of climate change skeptics, from Michael Crichton to Robert Novak. There's a concise way to describe what happened to Dr. Hansen: he was Swift-boated. John Kerry, a genuine war hero, didn't realize that he could successfully be portrayed as a coward. And it seems to me that Dr. Hansen, whose predictions about global warming have proved remarkably accurate, didn't believe that he could successfully be portrayed as an unreliable exaggerator....

Now, Dr. Hansen isn't running for office. But Mr. Gore might be, and even if he isn't, he hopes to promote global warming as a political issue. And if he wants to do that, he and those on his side will have to learn to call liars what they are. --more

Nazi Slur Strategy Played Against Al Gore, Bush Visited By Player

"You don’t go see Joseph Goebbels’ films to see the truth about Nazi Germany. You don’t wanna go see Al Gore’s film to see the truth about global warming." --Sr. Fellow at ExxonMobil-backed Nat. Ct. for Policy Analysis Sterling Burnett

"Gore believed in global warming almost as much as Hitler believed there was something wrong with the Jews." --Colorado St. Professor Emeritus Meterologist Bill Gray

"During the question-and-answer period following his speech, [Novelist Michael] Crichton drew an analogy between believers in global warming and Nazi eugenicists. “Auschwitz exists because of politicized science,” Crichton asserted, to gasps from some in the crowd --Mother Jones

"In his new book about Mr. Bush, "Rebel in Chief: Inside the Bold and Controversial Presidency of George W. Bush," Fred Barnes recalls a visit to the White House last year by Michael Crichton, whose 2004 best-selling novel, "State of Fear," suggests that global warming is an unproven theory and an overstated threat. Mr. Barnes, who describes Mr. Bush as "a dissenter on the theory of global warming," writes that the president "avidly read" the novel and met the author after Karl Rove, his chief political adviser, arranged it. He says Mr. Bush and his guest "talked for an hour and were in near-total agreement." --New York Times

Get Your Sunday Funnies here Each Sunday

Memorial Day Weekend. May 27- May 29 (new posts each day)

cover: "Losing Face" by Francoise Mouly

Death By Hillary: Let's Hope Gore Can Save The Dems, Frank Rich

If Senator Clinton is the Antichrist, might not it be time for a resurrected messiah to inherit (and save) the earth? Enter Mr. Gore, celebrated by New York on its cover as "The Un-Hillary." There's a certain logic to this. Mrs. Clinton does look like a weak candidate — not so much because of her marriage, her gender or her liberalism, but because of her eagerness to fudge her stands on anything and everything to appeal to any and all potential voters. Where once she inspired passions pro and con, now she often induces apathy. Her most excited constituency seems to be the right-wing pundits who still hope to make a killing with books excoriating her....

Since no crowd-pleasing Democratic challenger has emerged at this early date to disrupt Mrs. Clinton's presumed coronation, the newly crowned movie star who won the popular vote in 2000 is the quick fix. Better the defeated devil the Democrats know than the losers they don't. Besides, there are at least two strong arguments in favor of Mr. Gore. He was way ahead of the Washington curve, not just on greenhouse gases but on another issue far more pressing than Mrs. Clinton's spirited crusade to stamp out flag burning: Iraq....

An anti-Hussein hawk who was among the rare Senate Democrats to vote for the first gulf war, Mr. Gore forecast the disasters lying in wait for the second when he spoke out at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on Sept. 23, 2002....At the time, the White House professed to ignore Mr. Gore's speech, but on cue in the next five days Condoleezza Rice, Ari Fleischer, Donald Rumsfeld and the president all stepped up the hype of what Mr. Rumsfeld falsely called "bulletproof" evidence of links between Saddam and Al Qaeda. Democratic leaders in Congress, meanwhile, blew off Mr. Gore for fear that talk of Iraq might distract the electorate from all those compelling domestic issues that would guarantee victory in the midterms. (That brilliant strategy cost Democrats the Senate.)...

Let's hope Mr. Gore runs. He may not be able to pull off the Nixon-style comeback of some bloggers' fantasies, but by pounding away on his best issues, he could at the very least play the role of an Adlai Stevenson or Wendell Willkie, patriotically goading the national debate onto higher ground. "I think the war looms over everything," said Karl Rove this month in bemoaning his boss's poll numbers. It looms over the Democrats, too. But the party's leaders would rather let John Murtha take the heat on Iraq; they don't even have the guts to endorse tougher fuel economy standards in their "new" energy policy. While a Gore candidacy could not single-handedly save the Democrats from themselves ..., it might at least force the party powers that be to start facing some inconvenient but necessary truths. --more

President Hillary? Another Dem Loser (excerpts), Jeffrey Goldberg

There’s a feeling among Democratic professionals in these red states that Democrats tend to condescend to voters in the heartland. The governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer, who’s a very popular and populist Democrat, argues that sometimes the Democrats just don’t seem as likable as the other guys. And the problem with likability comes from a feeling that Democrats are lecturing voters about what’s best for them....

The Princeton historian Sean Wilentz says that Democrats are motivated by humanitarianism. Humanitarians want to make people better, and when you set out to try to make people better you often end up condescending to them. Adult Americans don’t want to have somebody who doesn’t know them telling them how to live their lives. Maybe this plays into a libertarian streak....

There are more conservatives in America than liberals. In the exit polls of the 2004 Presidential election, one out of every five voters identified himself to pollsters as a liberal, while one out of every three self-identified as conservative. The conservative base is simply bigger than the liberal base, and Rove is not wrong when he says that this is essentially a center-right country. So liberals must do more to reach the moderates. In many states, liberals need to win as much as seventy or seventy-five per cent of moderates in order to win....

The Party is split by personality, and the Party is also split because there are people who are more liberal and people who are less liberal. It really doesn’t have one person you could point to and say, That person is somebody who embodies the Democratic Party, who speaks for it....

Missouri Democrats told me, over and over, that yes, they like Hillary Clinton, they think she’s a good senator, they admire her personal qualities, but the last thing they want right now is for her to come to Missouri and campaign on behalf of their candidates. Missouri is a state that could go for a Democrat in a national election, but what they were saying to me is, We hope that the Party understands that nominating Hillary Clinton means that you take Missouri out of play, and when Missouri is out of play, thirty other states are out of play....

What’s bubbling beneath the surface right now is a feeling that Hillary Clinton could certainly capture the nomination, but she is not the best person to run for the Presidency. This goes back to the paradox of Hillary Clinton: she is a moderate figure—she’s never actually been as liberal as people think. But by 2008 the country will have had sixteen or seventeen years of knowing Hillary, and people’s ideas about her are fairly fixed. If only because of the amount of money she’s raised, she’s formidable, and she’s in the way of all of these other guys.

--more

President Gore: What's Wrong With Our Politics (excerpts), Paul Krugman

Why, after all, was Mr. Gore's popular-vote margin in the 2000 election narrow enough that he could be denied the White House? Any account that neglects the determination of some journalists to make him a figure of ridicule misses a key part of the story. Why were those journalists so determined to jeer Mr. Gore? Because of the very qualities that allowed him to realize the importance of global warming, many years before any other major political figure: his earnestness, and his genuine interest in facts, numbers and serious analysis.

And so the 2000 campaign ended up being about the candidates' clothing, their mannerisms, anything but the issues, on which Mr. Gore had a clear advantage (and about which his opponent was clearly both ill informed and dishonest). I won't join the sudden surge of speculation about whether "An Inconvenient Truth" will make Mr. Gore a presidential contender. But the film does make a powerful case that Mr. Gore is the sort of person who ought to be running the country.

Since 2000, we've seen what happens when people who aren't interested in the facts, who believe what they want to believe, sit in the White House. Osama bin Laden is still at large, Iraq is a mess, New Orleans is a wreck. And, of course, we've done nothing about global warming. But can the sort of person who would act on global warming get elected? Are we — by which I mean both the public and the press — ready for political leaders who don't pander, who are willing to talk about complicated issues and call for responsible policies? That's a test of national character. I wonder whether we'll pass. --more


Friday, May 26

Heckava Job: Enron Guilt Slimes Bush Family

Enron Chiefs Lay, Skilling Guilty of Fraud and Conspiracy, NYT

***
December, 2002: Video reminds Bush family of embarrassing Enron links
The White House last night suffered an embarrassing reminder of the Bush family's close relationship with the disgraced energy firm Enron. A video recorded for the leaving party of a former employee shows senior executives joking about how they could manipulate the accounts to make "a kazillion dollars". It also features the current and former President Bushes paying warm tributes to the departing executive. George Bush senior tells Enron's then president Rich Kinder: "You have been fantastic to the Bush family. I don't think anybody did more than you did to support George."

The 1997 video, shown on MSNBC last night, turned out to be prescient. In one skit, Enron's then chief executive Jeffrey Skilling is shown handing a budget report to a colleague , and explaining how Enron could achieve 600% revenue growth in the coming year. "We're going to move to something I call HFV, or hypothetical future value accounting," he says. "If we do that, we can add a kazillion dollars to the bottom line." On the tape, then chief accounting officer Richard Causey jokes: "I've been on the job for a week managing earnings, and it's easier than I thought it would be." George Bush junior, then governor of Texas, says to Mr Kinder, who has not been implicated in the financial scandal: "Don't leave Texas. You're too good a man." --Guardian

Bush Served on Harken Board During Enron Trades In 1992. October 22, 2002 "While President Bush served on Harken Energy Corp.'s board more than 10 years ago, it engaged in complex trades with Enron Corp., a watchdog group said on Tuesday." --Yahoo News, quoted by Buzzflash

April 1997 letter to "Dear George" from "Sincerely, Ken"
You will be meeting with Ambassador Sadyq Safaey...Enron has established an office in Tashkent and we are negotiating a $3 billion dollar joint venture...I know you and Ambassador Safaev will have a productive meeting which will result in a friendship between Texas and Uzbekistan --Smoking Gun

In 1997, the Washington Post did a piece about President George H. W. Bush’s overnight guests.... BALZ AND BABCOCK: Comedian Bob Hope, tennis player Andre Agassi, singers Lee Greenwood and Crystal Gayle and baseball great Ted Williams spent the night at the White House during President George Bush’s four years in office...Several others gave significant amounts of money to the party but were not in the $100,000 category. They included: Ken Lay of the Enron Corp.; Richard Rainwater, a Fort Worth investor; Perry Bass of Fort Worth; and Donald Hall of Hallmark Cards. --Daily Howler

"Phillips writes that in 1988 George W. Bush actually served as a lobbyist for Enron, telephoning the Argentine government to promote an Enron pipeline proposal. Bush’s staff has denied that Bush made that phone call, but an Argentine cabinet minister says he did. In any event, Bush’s father was president-elect when Bush made the alleged phone call, a fact that could not have been lost on the Argentine government." --quoted by Buzzflash

Bush visits top contributor for Houston baseball bash April 8, 2000
"Kenneth Lay, right, CEO of the Texas-based energy giant Enron Corp., visits with former president George Bush prior to the Houston Astros' home opener at their new Enron Field Friday night. Lay has been a major contributor for Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. George W. Bush, foreground." --quoted by Buzzflash

The Bush administration's links to Enron, the trigger for the present wave of scandals, are labyrinthine. Enron, based in Mr Bush's home state of Texas, was his biggest backer during his campaigns for governor and president, donating more than $800,000. He was also a friend of the company's former chief executive Kenneth Lay, whom he referred to affectionately as "Kenny boy". --Guardian

Ken Lay Quote in an interview with PBS’s 'Frontline' taped on March 27, 2001: 'When Governor Bush, now President Bush, decided to run fo: 'When Governor Bush, now President Bush, decided to run for the governor’s spot, [there was] a little difficult situation. I’d worked very closely with Ann Richards also, the four years she was governor. But I was very close to George W. and had a lot of respect for him, had watched him over the years, particularly with reference to dealing with his father when his father was in the White House and some of the things he did to work for his father, and so did support him.'" --TPJ

George W. Bush Quote: "I got to know Ken Lay when he was head of the — what they call the Governor's Business Council in Texas. He was a supporter of Ann Richards in my run in 1994. And she had named him the head of the Governor's Business Council. And I decided to leave him in place, just for the sake of continuity. And that's when I first got to know Ken and worked with Ken." —attempting to distance himself from his biggest political patron, Enron Chairman Ken Lay, whom he nicknamed "Kenny Boy," Washington, D.C., Jan. 10, 2002 --About

"In more than two dozen letters written from Kenneth L. Lay to then-Gov. George W. Bush, the former Enron (news/quote) chairman lobbied repeatedly for his company's pet issue, electric deregulation, sought the governor's presence at Enron-related functions and sent magazine articles and personal notes." --NYT

May 2002: White House officials had more extensive contacts with Enron executives in 2001 than previously disclosed, according to a document released by the Bush administration today in response to a request for information from a Senate committee. The document describes contacts -- including meetings, phone conversations, letters and e-mail messages -- that concerned the national energy policy report produced by Vice President Dick Cheney, the California energy crisis, Enron's collapse last fall and appointments to administration posts, including the head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The White House document also disclosed that Enron executives, including Kenneth L. Lay, the former chairman, attended numerous White House functions, including the 2001 inaugural, the Easter Egg roll, T-ball games, speeches and social events. --NYT

May 2002: All the examples of the Bush family's role in the rise of Enron. Here, we're running around, we're blaming these accountants, these tricksters that were in Enron, but George W. and George H.W., his father, were very much involved in the whole rise of Enron's influence and power in this country. But you ... you don't see that. People in the press have a lot of trouble touching these issues right where the rubber hits the road. --PBS Interview with Kevin Phillips


Thursday, May 25

Propaganda: Neocon influence in the US media

Neoconservative thinking originally grew out of Norman Podhoretz's editorships of Commentary, published by the American Jewish Committee, and, to a lesser degree, The Public Interest published by National Affairs....The fact that the [9/11] attacks originated with Arab fundamentalists allowed the Neocons to forge their arguments about Israel and US foreign policy into a seamless, holistic worldview that was quickly adopted by both the president and vice-president of the United States. Decades of planning a war against Iraq and, potentially other Arab and Islamic nations, paid off in the form of a war launched against a country that had nothing to do with the attacks against us. A Very Short History of Neoconservatism, Eric Alterman

Sourcewatch: The number of neocon dominated/controlled journals and program outlets has steadily increased ever since the introduction of Commentary. Eric Alterman lists the following outlets according to their degree of neoconnery:

Commentary
The Weekly Standard
Most of National Review
Half The New Republic
City Journal
The New Criterion
The Washington Times
Insight
The New York Post
The New York Sun
The editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal
60 or so percent of the Washington Post op-ed page
A twice-a-week appearance on the New York Times op-ed page
All of Fox News
Much of MSNBC
A bit of CNN
More and more of PBS
The American Enterprise Institute
The Heritage Foundation
The Hoover Institution
The Project for the New American Century
The US National Security Council
The Department of Defense
Parts of the World Bank and the United Nations Ambassador's office
A healthy chunk of the State Department
The Vice-President's office
And an unknown percentage of what is politely referred to as “the president's mind”

Although not listed in Alterman's list, The Atlantic Monthly also registers increasingly as a neocon dominated periodical.


Wednesday May 24

Op-Eds: The Latest From Uhler, Partridge, Weiner, Floyd, Jenkins, Pringle, Miller, Mickey Z., Ostroy, and Fischer

Russian Identity and the Prospects for Democracy in Putin's Russia, Walter C. Uhler
A few years ago, severely disillusioned by the failure of most Americans to doubt the exaggerations and lies told about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda by the administration of President George W. Bush, I turned to reading books by such prominent thinkers as Walter Lippmann, Walter Karp and Robert Wiebe to try to understand where America's experiment in democracy went wrong. The result was a warmly received article, Democracy or dominion, that was republished in a college textbook....Readers of that article know that I dispute the contention that the United States is a democracy. Why? Because, as America's war in Iraq demonstrates, America's so-called democracy fails to meet even the most basic and fundamental requirement for a functioning democracy: the ability to hold its leaders accountable. Thomas Jefferson had accountability in mind, when he asserted: "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."

Eyes On The Prize, Partridge
Now is the time to put aside intramural differences, form alliances with former adversaries, focus on common concerns and aims. Let’s take back our government, then we can duke out our differences, as fellow citizens in a restored republic under the rule of law.

Vexed to nightmare: The unholy union behind the war on terror, Floyd
In an interview with Alternet, former NYT reporter (and Bush Regime misinformation conduit) Judith Miller tells how an intelligence source told her, during the 2001 July Fourth holiday weekend, about an intercept of a conversation of two al Qaeda members. As Miller recounts it: "And they had been talking to one another, supposedly expressing disappointment that the United States had not chosen to retaliate more seriously against what had happened to the Cole. And one Al Qaeda operative was overheard saying to the other, 'Don't worry; we're planning something so big now that the U.S. will have to respond.'"

Table Scraps and Lies – Bush’s Memorial to the 9/11 Families, W. David Jenkins
“Now that the Moussaoui penalty phase is over, I certainly hope that the information will be flowing freely to the American people.” - Kristin Breitweiser on “Hardball” 5/03/06 With all due respect to Ms. Breitweiser, I believe we all know that there will be no information regarding 9/11 “flowing freely” to the American people. Not now anyway nor in the near future. Everyone needs to just focus on the fact that the “20th hijacker” has been sentenced and now we can move on because we have more important things to worry about – like a Spanish version of the national anthem. The Moussaoui trial was little more than a carrot dangled before the American people in hopes that his sentence or possible execution would take much of the heat off the government’s ineptitude when it came to matters regarding 9/11.

Impeachment is Too Good for Bush, Mickey Z.
There's talk of impeachment making the rounds these days ... and it's not just partisan hyperbole. As Dave Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky explain in their new book, "The Case for Impeachment," the legal argument for removing George W. Bush from office is clear, present, and urgent. However, for those seeking peace and justice, there are two reasons why impeachment should only be judged as a means to an end.

Cheney Testifies Before The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Weiner
Cheney is placed under oath some years hence. And, though he tries to evade it, and is a bit testy with his interrogators, he's obliged to reveal the truths behind the Bush Administration's actions.

Big-Mouth Bush Told Clinton How To Handle OPEC, Evelyn Pringle
While on the campaign trail in 2000, Bush told President Bill Clinton how to handle OPEC, in public no less. “What I think the president ought to do," he said, "is he ought to get on the phone with the OPEC cartel and say we expect you to open your spigots." And in a brilliant, highly educational follow-up comment, Bush informed the audience: "One reason why the price is so high is because the price of crude oil has been driven up." "OPEC has gotten its supply act together," Bush advised listeners, "and it's driving the price, like it did in the past." "And," he said in direct advice to Clinton, "the president of the United States must jawbone OPEC members to lower the prices." Apparently, Bush has lost the phone numbers for OPEC members, or they are refusing to take his calls, because I think its safe to assume that he did not "jawbone" members of the OPEC cartel.

How the Busheviks Could Help Stop Illegal Immigration If They Really Wanted To, Andy Ostroy
In his conservative magazine Human Events, editor Terry Jeffrey writes in a recent article that the government knows exactly which companies are violating the law by hiring illegals, yet is giving these law-breakers a free pass. He cites the Social Security's Earnings Suspense File (ESF) as the mechanism through which the Busheviks could stem the tide of illegal immigration.

Pain Management: A Double Standard?, William Fisher
Two weeks from now, a South Carolina pain management physician will surrender at the Talladega, Alabama, prison to begin serving a 2.5-year sentence for drug trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering. Dr. Michael Jackson is one of hundreds of pain management specialists arrested, charged and jailed by federal and state authorities for violating the Controlled Substances Act, designed to limit the dispensing of illegal prescription drugs by doctors and their use by patients. Meanwhile, the high profile right-wing radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, charged with "doctor shopping" for prescription medication for chronic back pain, reached a settlement with the Florida State Attorney, which his attorney said will be dismissed in 18 months if Limbaugh complies with court guidelines. As a primary condition of the dismissal, Limbaugh must continue to seek treatment only from the doctor he has seen for the past 2.5 years. In an interview, Dr. Jackson said the contrast between his treatment and Limbaugh's underlines "a widespread double standard - one for the 'haves' and another for the 'have-nots'."

Slaves to the 'Free Market' Unite, Jason Miller
Relentlessly delivering the triphammer blows of a youthful Mike Tyson, America’s imperialist ruling class of wealthy and corporate elites has been pummeling the poor, minorities, and the working class with impunity for years.


Tuesday, May 23

Dems: Hillary Lies For Republicrat Hawk Lieberman (excerpts), Paul Krugman

Although Hillary is barely a Dem with a Senate voting grade of 70%, she's backing Lieberman, who has a Senate score of 50% as a Dem and could lose the Connecticut Dem primary to Ned Lamont. Like McCaine, Hillary is also spending time sucking up to the Christin right, but Big John's a far right conservative; what's Hillary's excuse? Now, we learn from Paul Krugman that Hillary is even able to lie on Joe's behalf:

"Some news reports may lead you to believe that [Lieberman] is in trouble solely because of his support for the Iraq war. But there's much more to it than that. Mr. Lieberman has consistently supported Republican talking points. This has made him a lion of the Sunday talk shows, but has put him out of touch with his constituents — and with reality. Mr. Lieberman isn't the only nationally known Democrat who still supports the Iraq war. But he isn't just an unrepentant hawk, he has joined the Bush administration by insisting on an upbeat picture of the situation in Iraq that is increasingly delusional.

"Moreover, Mr. Lieberman has supported the attempt to label questions about why we invaded Iraq and criticism of the administration's policies since the invasion as unpatriotic. How else is one to interpret his warning, late last year, that "it is time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be Commander-in-Chief for three more critical years, and that in matters of war we undermine Presidential credibility at our nation's peril"?

"And it's not just Iraq. A letter sent by Hillary Clinton to Connecticut Democrats credited Mr. Lieberman with defending Social Security "tooth and nail." Well, I watched last year's Social Security debate pretty closely, and that's not what happened. In fact, Mr. Lieberman repeatedly supported the administration's scare tactics. "Every year we wait to come up with a solution to the Social Security problem," he declared in March 2005, "costs our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren $600 billion more." This claim echoed a Bush administration talking point, and President Bush wasted little time citing Mr. Lieberman's statement as vindication. But the talking point was simply false, so Mr. Lieberman was providing cover for an administration lie."

--more

Parody: Joe's A Sold Out Man, by Sam and Dave, with changes by Jerry Politex

Comin on to ya, an untrusty toad
Leiberman's giving us a big truck load
And if you take it you got nothing
But dont worry cause Joe's going

Joe's A Sold Out Man
He's Sold Out, Man
He's Sold Out, Man
Joe's A Sold Out Man

Joe's a suck-up-hawk in Bush's pay
And he votes G-O-P most every day
But honey dont you fret
Cause we'll get 'em out yet

Joe's A Sold Out Man
He's Sold Out, Man
Sing it loud!
Joe's A Sold Out Man
He's Sold Out, Man

Listen
I was brought up to vote for what's right
And Liberman's record is a true blue fright
As a Dem he's not doing great
So he'll be gone come August 8

Joe's A Sold Out Man
He's Sold Out, Man
Sing it proud!
Joe's A Sold Out Man
He's Sold Out, Man

This reign of Liberman's got to end
Vote Lamont 'cause he's a true blue friend
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Joe's A Sold Out Man
He's Sold Out, Man
Joe's sold us out!
He's Sold Out, Man
He's Sold Out, Man
Joe's A Sold Out Man

--more


Monday May 22

Bush's Tax Cuts To Wealthy Have Not Helped The Economy, Explains Krugman:

Alan Gertler, Reno, Nev.: I'm a scientist, not an economist, so I'm fairly naive when it comes to what drives the economy.

My question is this: Have the tax cuts stimulated the economy as claimed (which I don't believe given the past cases of Reagan and Bush senior), or has it been the willingness of the government to continue massive spending by increasing our debt that has led to the growth of the economy?

Paul Krugman: It's actually neither.

About the Bush tax cuts: the tax cuts of 2001 evidently didn't do the job; these days, the Bush people talk about the economy as if history began in the middle of 2003, after their SECOND wave of tax cuts. But while the economy did start growing, finally, in 2003, the growth wasn't at all of the form you'd expect if tax cuts were responsible. The main tax cuts were on dividends and capital gains; supposedly this would make it easier for businesses to raise funds and invest. But business investment hasn't been the main driver of growth; in fact, businesses have been sitting on huge piles of earnings, reluctant to invest. Instead, the big driver was housing construction and consumer spending. So what really happened? Low interest rates led to a housing boom that eventually turned into a housing bubble. High house prices made people feel richer, and they could borrow against the increased value of their homes, feeding consumer spending. Tax cuts had nothing to do with it.

--more


Sunday School: Sunday May 21

Catholic Monsignor Francis Maniscalco Debunks DA VINCI CODE's View of Bible, But Says Bible "Mixed Up" On Magdalene :

...CHRIS MATTHEWS: I don‘t know what [actor Ian McKellen] said there, but he said one thing, he made fun of the Bible by saying it is fiction basically, it had to have a disclaimer. What do you make of that kind of remark?

MANISCALCO: Well I think it just continues the agenda of the book to deny that the indisputable source for information about Jesus Christ is the New Testament. And then to call that fiction is to question the validity of the New Testament, which is what the book does and apparently the film does as well....

MANISCALCO: Certainly there has been in the atmosphere some of these questions about Jesus and the origins of Christianity. Certain scholars want to kind of have a revisionist view of the origins of Christianity and I think the author of the book, Dan Brown, picked up on some of those things and put them into popular version.

MATTHEWS: I grew up a Catholic, I‘m a Catholic. Monsignor, I always liked Mary Magdalene, I thought she was an interesting character. She had had a bad background, a little naughtiness in her background, maybe worse than that. But Jesus loved her and made her a close friend. Tell us about because she‘s sort of portrayed as a person who was villainized by the church and Dan Brown in the movie here says, “She‘s great, let‘s make her look better than she was.”

MANISCALCO: Well I think two things. The first is that Mary Magdalene apparently was called a prostitute early on and perhaps she wasn‘t, she was mixed up with some other people in the gospels. But still, everybody is called to repent and whether she was a prostitute or not, she is a person who repented so she has been admired for her repentance and then zealously following Jesus Christ.

MATTHEWS: But didn‘t Jesus like her, because she liked him? In the Bible, he says, “She is loved much.”

MANISCALCO: Well that‘s not really Mary Magdalene.

MATTHEWS: Who‘s that Mary?

MANISCALCO: That‘s another figure that we don‘t exactly know who that person is.

MATTHEWS: Oh, that wasn‘t Mary, too?

MANISCALCO: No.

MATTHEWS: You‘re sure?

MANISCALCO: People like [to] economize in the gospel and if they‘ve got people they don‘t have a name, they figure they must be somebody else as well.


Observed: Saturday May 20

Bush Sec. of Treasury Caught in a Lie About Tanking Economy, says Krugman (excerpt): [The falling dollar, the weakening housing market, and the high cost of gas may usher in the end of the Bush spin economy.] "On May 10 the White House issued a press release titled "Setting the Record Straight: The New York Times Continues to Ignore America's Economic Progress." The release attacked The Times for asserting that paychecks weren't keeping up with fixed costs like medical care and gasoline. The White House declared, "But average hourly earnings have risen 3.8 percent over the past 12 months, their largest increase in nearly five years."

"On Wednesday Treasury Secretary John Snow repeated that boast before a House committee. However, Representative Barney Frank was ready. He asked whether the number was adjusted for inflation; after flailing about, Mr. Snow admitted, sheepishly, that it wasn't. In fact, nearly all of the wage increase was negated by higher prices. Meanwhile, the return of economic gravity poses a definite threat to U.S. economic growth. After all, growth over the past three years was driven mainly by a housing boom and rapid growth in consumer spending. People were able to buy houses, even though housing prices rose much faster than incomes, because foreign purchases of U.S. debt kept interest rates low. People were able to keep spending, even though wages didn't keep up with inflation, because mortgage refinancing let them turn the rising value of their houses into ready cash.

"As I summarized it awhile back, we became a nation in which people make a living by selling one another houses, and they pay for the houses with money borrowed from China. Now that game seems to be coming to an end. We're going to have to find other ways to make a living — in particular, we're going to have to start selling goods and services, not just I.O.U.'s, to the rest of the world, and/or replace imports with domestic production. And adjusting to that new way of making a living will take time."


Observed: Friday May 19

Gen. Hayden is a Liar, and Implies Bush Is One, Too, Says NYT : "The hearing produced important — and disquieting — news about President Bush's decision to spy on Americans without a warrant....The National Security Agency's domestic surveillance, which General Hayden ran while he led the agency, loomed over the proceedings. General Hayden could not explain coherently why he testified in 2002 that he had no authority to listen to Americans' phone calls without a warrant, when the president had already given him that authority....General Hayden's appearance also made it clear that the one warrantless spying operation Mr. Bush has acknowledged — listening to calls between the United States and other countries — is not the only one. And he testified that he did not, as Mr. Bush has said, design the N.S.A. operation, which violates the 28-year-old legal requirement for a warrant for any domestic wiretapping....The hearing drove home again that the spying is being conducted outside the constitutional system of checks and balances....Attorney General Alberto Gonzales enthusiastically subscribes to Mr. Bush's imperial vision of the presidency, as well as the president's disregard for the balance of powers. Mr. Gonzales's department recently quashed an investigation by its ethics office into the conduct of the Justice Department officials who approved the spying program....The issue is whether [collecting intelligence] will be done legally, and whether Congress will step up to this challenge of its duties and powers. General Hayden's hearing did not provide much hope on either front."


Observed: Friday May 19

Politex: Bush's NSA nominee, General Hayden, appeared at his Senate hearing in uniform yesterday, and told the senators that he will be independent of the Pentagon while retaining his rank of Four-Star General. Isn't that grounds for a court martial?


Observed: Thursday May 18

Politex: As one of the most corrupt administrations in U.S. history continues its destructive ways, the GOP propaganda machine looks the other way by reinforcing the stereotype that often leads them to victory: all politicians are corrupt, so pick us because at least we give you part of the spoils in the form of tax cuts, government contracts, and weak oversight. What's ignored is that politicians operating within a one-party system of weakened checks and balances tend to be more corrupt than those who don't, and that's the case with the GOP today. Meanwhile, the propaganda goes on: "The House ethics committee agreed on Wednesday to open investigations of a pair of lawmakers — one Democrat, one Republican — who are the focus of criminal investigations by the Justice Department." NYT, 05.18.06


Sunday May 14 through Tuesday May 16, 2006

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Monday April 31 through Sunday May 21, 2006

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