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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world by the editors of Bush Watch
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Letter: to President Bush from 36 U.S. Senators
In light of the fact that John Bolton was not truthful to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the questionnaire he swore was truthful, we ask that you do not make a recess appointment of Mr. Bolton to be the Ambassador to the United Nations and instead submit a new nomination to the Senate.
Mr. Bolton's excuse that he "didn't recall being interviewed by the State Department's Inspector General" is simply not believable. How can you forget an interview about an issue so important that the United States Senate unanimously passed an amendment stating that Congress supports "the thorough and expeditious investigation by the Inspector General of the Department of State and the Inspector General of the Central Intelligence Agency into the documents ... that the President relied on to conclude that Iraq had attempted to obtain uranium from Africa"? The amendment was cosponsored by the Chairmen of both the Foreign Relations Committee and the Intelligence Committee.
Mr. President, we know you are engaged in an effort to strengthen our relationships throughout the world. Sending someone to the United Nations who has not been confirmed by the United States Senate and now who has admited to not being truthful on a document so important that it requires a sworn affidavit is going to set our efforts back in many ways. Sincerely,...
names of Senators who signed the letter...

Sunday Bible School: (Actual test answers.)
The greatest miracle in the Bible was when Joshua told his son to stand still and he obeyed him.

We're Watching: Zhang Yimou's "House of Flying Daggers" (Sony)

Saturday, July 30, 2005

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Opinion: Congress Oversight Of Our Gulag A No-No, Says Bush, Cheney, Chris Floyd
Last week, we wrote of the Bush Faction's increasingly successful drive to establish the principle of unlimited presidential authority -- beyond the reach of any law or constitutional restriction -- as the new foundation of a militarist American state. This relentless push toward autocracy gained even more strength in recent days, in two cases centering on what has emerged as the very core of President George W. Bush's authoritarian philosophy: torture

Opinion: How America Views Dissent, William O. Douglas
Our Constitutional right to protest allows us more freedom than most other people in the world enjoy. Yet the stresses and strains in our system have become so great and the dissents so violent and continuous that a great sense of insecurity has possessed much of the country.
This insecurity reflects international as well as local worries and concerns. At the international level we have become virtually paranoid. The world is filled with dangerous people. Every troublemaker across the globe is a communist. Our obsession is in part the product of a fear generated by Joseph McCarthy. Indeed a black silence of fear possesses the nation and is causing us to jettison some of our libertarian traditions.
Truman nurtured that fear. Johnson promoted it, preaching the doctrine that the people of the world want what we have and, unless suppressed, will take it from us. That fear has made us all military experts — we all know what missiles to keep, what troop deployments to make, what overseas wars to search out and join. Military strategy has indeed become dominant in our thinking; and the dominance of the military attitude has had a sad effect at home. Domestic issues also have aroused people as seldom before....

We're Listening: Serge Gainsbourg's, "Comic Strip" (Phillips)

friday, July 29, 2005

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Opinion: The GOP is Certain to Win in 2006 — Unless..., Ernest Partridge
Here’s the very bad news: the Democrats will almost certainly lose in 2006 and again in 2008. Three essential reasons: (a) the GOP and the Bush junta simply cannot afford to lose, (b) they can prevent their defeat no matter what the voters have to say about it (as they have in the last three elections), and (c) apparently the Democratic Party, the media, and law enforcement are unable and/or unwilling to do anything about it. A GOP win in 2006 and 2008 seems simply inevitable: as "inevitable" as LBJ’s re-election, Nixon completing his second term, and the endurance of the Soviet Union and apartheid South Africa. By this I mean that all this would have come to pass but for some extraordinary and unforeseen developments. Nothing less will budge the GOP from the White House and the Congress. After all, their “private sector” supporters count and compile the votes with secret software – and do so with no official independent means of validation. These facts about voting in the United States are publicly known and undisputed. And yet, despite compelling and unrefuted evidence of voting fraud, no one, except some determined citizen groups and a small minority of members of Congress, appear to be bothered enough to take action.

It’s almost impossible to overstate the ineptitude of the modern Dem message machine. For us, the party’s handling of the recent SS debate really brought this problem into sharp focus. Party spokesmen kept understating the “transition costs” of Bush’s private accounts; incredibly, they routinely set the price tag lower than the price Dick Cheney had copped to! Meanwhile, major spokesmen kept vouching for the gloomy projections of the SS trustees—a gloomy forecast that tended to favor Bush’s claim of impending disaster. At one point, Chris Dodd even said that “every single actuary” vouches for that gloomy forecast. Dodd’s statement was blatantly false—and it favors the RNC side! Meanwhile, how foolish can the party’s leaders get? One was out there telling Gore jokes at a college graduation! Good grief! How Karl Rove must have laughed!
But so too with this two-year [Plame-Rove] discussion....The Dem/lib message machine failed again, as it has so many times in the past. Duh! People who are close to this case should have understood, right from the start, that the 1982 statute wasn’t the only route for a criminal prosecution. And they should have let the public know that—partly to inform them of basic facts, and partly to counter the RNC spinning. But, as usual, this just didn’t happen. RNC types all knew they should say how narrow the 1982 statute is. And DNC types? They didn’t know their keisters from corn-dogs....[For example, a] 1917 law was discussed in the Post five days after the initial complaint. But then, that statute dropped from sight; RNC types always mentioned the fact that the 1982 law is hard to apply, and Dems and libs were too dead-dog dumb to offer this simple rebuttal [,that there are other laws involved].
But this has been standard in recent debates—observed again and again and again. Current solution on the liberal web? Name-call! Mind-read! And act like Rush Limbaugh! It’s “hard work” to develop real facts, and—as Rush has shown for the past two decades—its easy and fun to be harlequins. Unfortunately, Rush typically has strong spin-points in place when he engages in his clowning. For Dems and libs, that has proven to be too tough a task. Now, they seem to be giving up altogether. Are modern Dems too dumb to compete? The one-sided debate about that 1982 law again suggests a sad answer.

We're Reading: Sean Naylor's "Not A Good Day To Die [Operation Anaconda]" (Berkley Books)

Thursday, July 28, 2005

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Opinion: Inside Rove's Diary: How Do I Get Out of This One? Bernard Weiner
It's been one badddddddd week. But I think Scooter and I and the others probably can finesse our way out of indictments for the Plame leak. However, Fitzgerald -- one of our guys! -- must have forgotten who butters his U.S. Attorney's bread as he seems hell-bent on charging fellow Republicans with some crime or another.
Looks like our vulnerability will be with what we said, or didn't say, in the early days of Fitz's investigation -- with perjury and/or obstruction charges possible. That damn memo circulating around Air Force One, with Plame's I.D. in it, sure has turned out to be a big problem.
Given who appointed Fitzgerald, our usual "it's-all-partisan-politics" mantra might not work. Won't stop us from trying it anyway.  I use the tools I know how to use. Time to get creative here.

Propaganda Shift: We Must Beat the Steamed Muggles and Their Violin Terriers, Jerry Politex
We must win the global war on terror. We must win the global war on terror. We must win the global war on terror. We must win the global war on terror. We must Karen the global war on new undersecretary of state for Hughes. We must win becomes the global head of propaganda for terror. We must violin for propaganda. We must win the global war struggle for steamed terriers. We muggles struggle against extremism. We must steam the global struggle against violent terrorism. We must win the global struggle against violent extremism. We must win the global struggle against violent extremism. We must win the global struggle against violent extremism. We must win the global struggle against violent extremism. We must...

Verse: War? What War? Madeleine Begun Kane
The war on terror's going bad,
So what's a Prez to do?
He simply calls it something else.
The "struggle" has debuted.

Bush starts a war without a plan.
A needless war, to boot.
And when it fails, his course is clear:
Just name it something cute.

Dub's PR folks work overtime.
Their mission's crystal-clear:
To alter views with words, not deeds.
Orwellian days are here.

Instead of Bush disinfo moves,
The truth would be quite nice.
But honesty we'll never hear
From Bush or Condi Rice.

Mad's reading of the poem

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

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Opinion: TeenScreen Is Not A Pill Pusher - Honest, Evelyn Pringle

TeenScreen's web site contains a lot of bull but for now I shall only address its assertions that the program is not affiliated with the pharmaceutical industry and that it has nothing to do with plugging any particular drug.

Letter: As Bush & Co keep telling the US public, things in Iraq keep improving. Soon the Iraqi military and police forces will be able to handle everything themselves and the US forces can withdraw. And then, according to what this CNN article implies, the insurgents will be in control. I think what the US will learn from this misadventure is that we appointed an incompetent group of people to run the country over the last 4 years, and they are especially incompetent at nation building and fighting the wrong war on terror. --Greg

Retraction: RoveGate, Bush Spin, And Media Whores, II
On Monday we reported that we were unable to find documentation on an undocumented New York Times assertion by reporter Scott Shane that "it was only on that Sunday in July [July 6, 2003] that Mr. Wilson - by then a foreign policy adviser to Democratic Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign - really turned up the volume. His charges in two newspapers and on a television network were instantly rebroadcast around the world." Politex concluded: "Wilson was not an advisor to John Kerry at the time that his op-ed piece was published, as the NYT reporters contend."
We were wrong and we regret the error. Here is yesterday's letter to Christine from the NYT's Office of the Public Editor:
Dear Christine,
Thanks for writing. Another reader raised this same issue, and here is how Mr. Shane replied:
Our Sunday story on the CIA leak saga is correct in stating that by July 2003 Joseph Wilson was working with the Kerry presidential campaign, according to Mr. Wilson's book, The Politics of Truth:
p. 410: "Though I had never met John Kerry, I was asked by a couple of friends if I would be interested in being part of his foreign policy committee in spring 2003....."
p. 442 (paperback edition): "And it was not until the spring of 2003, several months after the president's State of the Union address, that I contributed to the Kerry campaign and began to work with his foreign policy committee."
Joe Plambeck
Office of the Public Editor
The New York Times

Quip: Sign On Bush's Oval Office Desk: "What Buck?"

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

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Opinion: Let's Be Blunt: Bush's Proxy is Spreading Social Darwinism to the State Level, Jason Miller
"Show-Me" the state of Missouri, and I will show you a microcosm of George Bush's domestic agenda for America. Under Governor Matt Blunt, Missouri is rapidly implementing laws reminiscent of the Gilded Age, when corporations ruled and the people were disposable cogs in their profit-making machines. Virtually each day I pick up the newspaper, Blunt has advanced this despicable agenda still further. Watching my former home state (and current neighboring state) become an ally to the American plutocracy in their bid to sweep away the remains of the progressive, humanitarian advances of the Twentieth Century leaves me deeply sickened and saddened.

RoveGate: AG Gonzales, The First Casualty, Frank Rich
The forgotten man Mr. Bush did not nominate to the Supreme Court is as much a window into the White House's panic and stonewalling as its haste to put forward the man he did. When the president decided not to replace Sandra Day O'Connor with a woman, why did he pick a white guy and not nominate the first Hispanic justice, his friend Alberto Gonzales? Mr. Bush was surely not scared off by Gonzales critics on the right (who find him soft on abortion) or left (who find him soft on the Geneva Conventions). It's Mr. Gonzales's proximity to this scandal that inspires real fear.
As White House counsel, he was the one first notified that the Justice Department, at the request of the C.I.A., had opened an investigation into the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife. That notification came at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2003, but it took Mr. Gonzales 12 more hours to inform the White House staff that it must "preserve all materials" relevant to the investigation. This 12-hour delay, he has said, was sanctioned by the Justice Department, but since the department was then run by John Ashcroft, a Bush loyalist who refused to recuse himself from the Plame case, inquiring Senate Democrats would examine this 12-hour delay as closely as an 18½-minute tape gap. "Every good prosecutor knows that any delay could give a culprit time to destroy the evidence," said Senator Charles Schumer, correctly, back when the missing 12 hours was first revealed almost two years ago. A new Gonzales confirmation process now would have quickly devolved into a neo-Watergate hearing. Mr. Gonzales was in the thick of the Plame investigation, all told, for 16 months.
Thus is Mr. Gonzales's Supreme Court aspiration the first White House casualty of this affair. It won't be the last. When you look at the early timeline of this case, rather than the latest investigatory scraps, two damning story lines emerge and both have legs....

GOP Words: ACTIVIST JUDGE, n. A judge who attempts to protect the rights of minorities--most especially homosexuals--against the tyranny of the majority.
Amy Mashberg, Austin, Texas

Monday, July 25, 2005

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Opinion: The Rise Of The Commander-in-Chief State, Chris Floyd
The United States long ago ceased to be anything like a living, thriving republic. But it retained the legal form of a republic, and that counted for something: As long as the legal form still existed, even as a gutted shell, there was hope it might be filled again one day with substance.
But now the very legal structures of the Republic are being dismantled. The principle of arbitrary rule by an autocratic leader is being openly established, through a series of unchallenged executive orders, perverse Justice Department rulings and court decisions by sycophantic judges who defer to power -- not law -- in their determinations. What we are witnessing is the creation of a "commander-in-chief state," where the form and pressure of law no longer apply to the president and his designated agents. The rights of individuals are no longer inalienable, nor are their persons inviolable; all depends on the good will of the Commander, the military autocrat.

Documentation: RoveGate, Bush Spin, And Media Whores, Christine
In "Ex-Diplomat's Surprise Volley on Iraq Drove White House Into Political Warfare Mode" by Scott Shane (with contributions by David E. Sanger) (NYT Sunday July 24, 2005) the statement is made:
"But it was only on that Sunday in July [July 6, 2003] that Mr. Wilson - by then a foreign policy adviser to Democratic Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign - really turned up the volume. His charges in two newspapers and on a television network were instantly rebroadcast around the world."
The statement asserts that Joseph Wilson was already an advisor to John Kerry at the time that the op-ed piece was published. This "canard" has become folk-truth in the battle between spin machines. We have been unable to find any evidence to support this claim. We do find in "DEBATING A LEAK: THE OVERVIEW; White House Looks to Manage Fallout Over C.I.A. Leak Inquiry" by RICHARD W. STEVENSON AND ERIC LICHTBLAU (NYT October 2, 2003):
"Republicans say Mr. Wilson is a partisan Democrat with ties to the presidential campaign of Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts and a desire to drive Mr. Bush from office. Mr. Wilson contributed $2,000 to Mr. Kerry's campaign and has said he might endorse him.
"Mr. Wilson also contributed to both Mr. Bush and Al Gore in the 2000 election cycle. He has given money in the past to a variety of other candidates from both parties."
No claim here that Wilson was in October 2003 an advisor to Kerry. We do find in "Not Quite A Dream Team" by Laura Flanders (Tom Paine Feb 17, 2004):
"Consider Kerry's foreign policy advisers. Ask the candidate's supporters, and the advisor they mention first is Joe Wilson, the Clinton-era National Security Council member who investigated claims that Saddam Hussein was trying to buy weapons-grade uranium from Niger."
And by late July 2004 the Kerry campaign had dropped Wilson.
We'd really like to see Shane and Sanger's source for their claim.
Conclusion by Politex: Wilson was not an advisor to John Kerry at the time that his op-ed piece was published, as the NYT reporters contend.

Mojotoons: Supreme Leader Voltron Is Just And Wise, by Tom Tomorrow

Sunday, July 24, 2005

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Bush Diary: Desperately Rattled: Bush Is The President That We Create, Peter Clothier
It's a scary world, Bush, as you like to point out so often. In fact, it's my judgment that your political success has been based on fear. In that sense, 9/11 played right into your hands, and those of your political operatives, because it created the atmosphere of fear in which you seem to operate so well. A single example--but one of many: the way in which the color-coded alert system worked so conveniently in your favor during the last election cycle. Any slight downtick in your numbers was easily corrected by an adjustment in the terror alert system.

Sunday Bible School: (Actual test answers.)
Joshua led the Hebrews in the Battle of Geritol.

Hardball with Chris Matthews' for July 21: RoveGate Timeline: What Did The White House Know And When Did It Know It? David Shuster
MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.
  We have new information tonight in the CIA leaks investigation.  MSNBC has confirmed that the grand jury has been examining a classified State Department memo that could be crucial to the case.  And this memo, requested by then Secretary of State Colin Powell in response to a column critical of the administration, was shared with Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary at the time, and has prompted testimony from multiple State Department officials.
  HARDBALL correspondent David Shuster reports.
DAVID SHUSTER, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  A witness who testified at the grand jury and lawyers for other witnesses say the memo was written in July of 2003, identified Valerie Wilson, also known as Valerie Plame, as a CIA officer, and cited her in a paragraph marked S for sensitive.
  According to lawyers, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and undersecretaries, including John Bolton, gave testimony about this memo.  And a lawyer for one State Department official says his client testified that, as President Bush was flying to Africa on Air Force One two years ago, Press Secretary Ari Fleischer could be seen reading the document on board.
  The timing is significant, because the president's trip on July 7 was one day after Ambassador Joe Wilson's column was published criticizing the administration.  In other words, on July 6, Wilson's column comes out.  On July 7, the State Department memo about Wilson's wife is seen on Air Force One.  And, on July 8, Karl Rove had a conversation with columnist Robert Novak, but says it was Novak who told him about Valerie Plame, not the other way around.
  Rove also says he never saw the State Department memo until prosecutors showed it to him.  Six days later, on July 14, 2003, Novak published the now infamous column that publicly identified Valerie Plame, Wilson's wife, as a CIA operative.
  Grand jury witnesses say a call record kept by Ari Fleischer shows Novak placed a call to him during this period.  And lawyers for several witnesses say their clients were questioned by investigators about Fleischer's conversations.  Fleischer, however, did not have the power to be a decision-maker in the administration.  And White House observers point out, he wouldn't have likely taken it upon himself to disseminate the State Department memo.  In any case, Fleischer and his lawyer have declined to comment.
  As far as Karl Rove is concerned, a recent line of questioning about him suggests the grand jury may be pursuing issues related to possible inconsistencies.  For weeks, Karl Rove's lawyer has been saying the now deputy White House chief of staff testified his 2003 conversation with “TIME” magazine reporter Matt Cooper was about welfare reform and, only at the end of that discussion, did Rove talk about anything else.
  Matt Cooper recalls leaving Karl Rove a message about welfare reform.  But Cooper testified that, when he and Karl Rove spoke, Joe Wilson was the only topic of conversation.  Cooper says this contradiction with Rove, combined with his testimony that Rove told him about the Wilson's CIA wife, prompted a flurry of grand jury questions.  And Cooper told NBC's Tim Russert the grand jurors themselves played an active role.
MATT COOPER, “TIME”:  A lot of questions that I answered were posed by them, as opposed to the prosecutor.  I thought they were very involved.
SHUSTER:  Legal experts say that, if the grand jurors are convinced they were misled by Karl Rove, the president's adviser could face charges of perjury or obstruction of justice.  Karl Rove's lawyer says the contradiction with Cooper is innocent and can be chalked up to conflicting memories of a 2003 conversation.
  (on camera):  By all accounts, much about this investigation was known only to the prosecutors and grand jurors.  And they are sworn to secrecy.
  Witnesses and their lawyers, however, are under no legal obligation to stay silent.  And their accounts reveal that this investigation, at least in part, has focused on a classified State Department memo.  The question is, was this how the White House learned about Valerie Wilson?  And, if so, did anybody in the White House take information about Wilson that was marked secret and pass it along?
  I'm David Shuster for HARDBALL in Washington.

We're Watching: Michael Palin's "Himalaya" (BBC)

Saturday, July 23, 2005

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Interview: Politics and the Playing Field An interview with Dave Zirin, Mickey Z.
It's fashionable on the Left to look down one's nose at the world of sports. To do so, according to Dave Zirin, would be to miss a chance at both inspiration and solidarity. Zirin's new book, "What's My Name Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States" creates a much-needed bridge between the political and the playing field. I interviewed my fellow sports fan/subversive via e-mail.

ROVEGATE BREAKING NEWS: Conflicting Stories, Dan Froomkin
New reports today indicate that special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald is zeroing in on conflicting stories officials and reporters have provided his grand jury, lending credence to the theory that he may be considering obstruction of justice or perjury charges against top White House officials.
• White House chief political strategist Karl Rove reportedly told the grand jury that he first learned of Valerie Plame's identity from columnist Robert Novak -- but Novak's version of the story is that Rove already knew about her when the two spoke. • Rove didn't mention his conversation with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper to investigators at first and then said it was primarily about welfare reform. But Cooper has testified that the topic of welfare reform didn't came up. • Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby apparently told prosecutors he first heard about Plame from NBC's Tim Russert, but Russert has testified that he neither offered nor received information about Plame in his conversation with Libby. • And former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer apparently told prosecutors that he never saw a classified State Department memo that disclosed Plame's identity, but another former official reportedly saw him perusing it on Air Force One. [see Rovegate Update below] WP, Friday, July 22, 1:22 pm

We're Listening: Keith Jarrett's, "Radiance" (EMI)

friday, July 22, 2005

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RoveGate Update: Members of the Bush Administration who apparently read a "secret" memo from the the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), "secret" implying, according to CIA officials, that information in the memo about CIA officer "Valerie Wilson," the wife of Joe Wilson, was "classfied" and that her identity was "covert": the unnamed INR analyist who wrote the memo, Director of INR Carl W. Ford, Jr., Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman, and Secretary of State Colin Powell. --Politex "The memo was delivered to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell on July 7, 2003, as he headed to Africa for a trip with President Bush aboard Air Force One. Several other administration officials were on the trip to Africa, including senior adviser Dan Bartlett, then-White House spokesman Ari Fleischer and others....It is a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a federal official to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert CIA official if the person knows the government is trying to keep it secret." WP, July 21, '05

Investigative Reporting: Uncle Sam Wants You: The Identity Stripping of American Citizens, Walter Brasch
As part of a $1.3 billion advertising campaign, the Department of Defense had awarded Mullen Advertising of Massachusetts a $345 million five-year contract; Mullen then subcontracted BeNOW, also a private Massachusetts company, to collect data and manage the database of names, birth dates, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, areas of study, grade point averages, height and weight data, ethnicity, social security numbers, and other personal data gleaned from dozens of sources. The Army claims the social security numbers are “carefully guarded.” But, as innumerable cases over the past decade have shown, it isn’t difficult for databases to be hacked, and for identities to be stolen. During 2004, there were 12 separate breaches of security into major databases, affecting almost 11 million individuals, according to Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
    Hackers aren’t the only ones who violate state and  laws. The Pentagon’s Joint Advertising, Market Research and Studies database itself is illegal. Buried within the Federal Register, the Army acknowledged in May 2005 it hadn’t met a significant provision of the Federal Privacy Act that requires public hearings before the government may create databases. The Army claims its failure was merely “an oversight,” and that the notice, three years after the database was created, was an attempt to meet the Act’s requirements.
    There is nothing in the creation and management of the database, which undoubtedly contains errors, to suggest it won’t be shared with other governmental and law enforcement agencies. There is a long history of local, state, and federal governments illegally and often unconstitutionally collecting data on citizens. Among the more recent cases of the abuse of the public trust:

Opinion: When Daddy Bush Fired Rove Over Novak "Leaks," Ron Suskind (2003)
William Kristol, among the most respected of the conservative commentators—a man embraced by the Right but still on dinner-party guest lists for the center and Left—is untouchable. He is willing to speak...."I believe Karl [Rove] is Bush. They’re not separate, each of them freestanding, with distinct agendas, as some people say. Karl thinks X. Bush thinks X....There is criticism of Karl from the friends of the former President Bush who don’t approve of the way the current President Bush is doing his job in every case." Kristol notes that "the kid is what he is, and he’s different from the father, some differences that I feel good about," but that gray men around "41" who don’t approve of "43" have trouble criticizing the son to the father "and ascribe everything to Karl’s malign influence." In that, Rove is at the center of the most portentous father-son conversation of modern times. Sources close to the former president say Rove was fired from the 1992 Bush presidential campaign after he planted a negative story with columnist Robert Novak about dissatisfaction with campaign fundraising chief and Bush loyalist Robert Mosbacher Jr. It was smoked out, and he was summarily ousted."

We're Reading: William O. Douglas' "Points Of Rebellion" (Random House)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

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Opinion: Rove-Plame Scandal Leading to Deeper White House Horrors? Bernard Weiner
It would appear that this scandal goes way beyond Karl Rove and who said what to whom when about Ms. Plame. It certainly is true, though, that turning over that slimy Rove-Plame rock was the way into the larger issues upon which Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald and his grand jury apparently are focusing....
What's being covered up in the Plame/Rove case seems to revolve around the Bush Administration's orchestrated, and perhaps illegal, propaganda campaign to justify its invasion of Iraq. Valerie Plame and her husband Ambassador Joseph Wilson -- who wrote the op-ed in the New York Times that got this whole thing going -- are just the tips of very large icebergs, and one of those icebergs has a name: the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), which we'll examine below.

Verse: An Odd Turn In The Criminal Justice System, Calvin Trillin
So Judy Miller's in the joint
A four-month sentence to complete
The prosecutor made his point,
And yet Karl Rove's still on the street.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

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Opinion: The Wayward Media: Three Mini-Essays, Ernest Partridge

Its no secret: the former watchdogs of the American media have been transformed into Bush’s lapdogs. Whenever a potential White House or GOP scandal rears its ugly head, you can count on the news media to be otherwise engaged. If you’ve paid any attention to the Tom Delay outrages, Gannon/Guckert, the Downing Street Memos, the civilian casualties in Iraq, The World Tribunal on Iraq in Istanbul, or what the rest of the world thinks of us and our President, you’ve kprobably learned about it from somewhere else: perhaps the foreign press or, of course, the internet. As for the mainstream media (MSM), it's all about Michael Jackson, the runaway bride, or the love lives of assorted Hollywood celebs. And election fraud, just possibly the greatest political crime in the history of the republic? Faggetaboutit. Total embargo.

Mojotoons: Rove Does The Perp Walk

Big Bush Lies: Rove, Cooper, Wilson, GOP Lies, And Media Whores, ed. by Jerry Politex

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

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White House Strategy: If there's no uranium, hit Wilson in the cranium.

Big Bush Lies: Bush Reneges On Leak Promise, Reuters
President Bush on Monday vowed to fire anyone found by a federal probe to have acted illegally in the exposure of a CIA agent, in a shift from a broader pledge to dismiss leakers in the case... Asked on June 10, 2004, whether he stood by his earlier pledge to fire anyone found to have leaked the officer's name, Bush replied: "Yes." On Monday, he added the qualifier that it would have to be demonstrated that a crime was committed.

Investigative Report: Did Washington try to manipulate Iraq’s election? Seymour Hersh (excerpt)
...A Pentagon consultant who deals with the senior military leadership acknowledged that the American authorities in Iraq “did an operation” to try to influence the results of the election. “They had to,” he said. “They were trying to make a case that Allawi was popular, and he had no juice.” A government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon’s civilian leaders said, “We didn’t want to take a chance.”

I was informed by several former military and intelligence officials that the activities were kept, in part, “off the books”—they were conducted by retired C.I.A. officers and other non-government personnel, and used funds that were not necessarily appropriated by Congress. Some in the White House and at the Pentagon believed that keeping an operation off the books eliminated the need to give a formal briefing to the relevant members of Congress and congressional intelligence committees, whose jurisdiction is limited, in their view, to officially sanctioned C.I.A. operations. (The Pentagon is known to be running clandestine operations today in North Africa and Central Asia with little or no official C.I.A. involvement.)

“The Administration wouldn’t take the chance of doing it within the system,” the former senior intelligence official said. “The genius of the operation lies in the behind-the-scenes operatives—we have hired hands that deal with this.” He added that a number of military and intelligence officials were angered by the covert plans. Their feeling was “How could we take such a risk, when we didn’t have to? The Shiites were going to win the election anyway.”

In my reporting for this story, one theme that emerged was the Bush Administration’s increasing tendency to turn to off-the-books covert actions to accomplish its goals. This allowed the Administration to avoid the kind of stumbling blocks it encountered in the debate about how to handle the elections: bureaucratic infighting, congressional second-guessing, complaints from outsiders.

The methods and the scope of the covert effort have been hard to discern. The current and former military and intelligence officials who spoke to me about the election operation were unable, or unwilling, to give precise details about who did what and where on Election Day. These sources said they heard reports of voter intimidation, ballot stuffing, bribery, and the falsification of returns, but the circumstances, and the extent of direct American involvement, could not be confirmed.

And, as Larry Diamond noted, there was also a strong possibility that Iraqis themselves would attempt voter fraud, with or without assistance from the U.S. According to the government consultant with close ties to Pentagon civilians, the C.P.A. accepted the reality of voter fraud on the part of the Kurds, whom the Americans viewed as “the only blocking group against the Shiites’ running wild.” He said, “People thought that by looking the other way as Kurds voted—man and wife, two times—you’d provide the Kurds with an incentive to remain in a federation.” (Kurdistan had gained partial autonomy before Saddam Hussein’s overthrow, and many Kurds were agitating for secession.)

The high-ranking United Nations official told me, “The American Embassy’s aim was to make sure that Allawi remained as Prime Minister, and they tried to do it through manipulation of the system.” But he also said that there was cheating on the other side. “The Shiites rigged the election in the south as much as ballots were rigged for Allawi.” He added, “You are right that it was rigged, but you did not rig it well enough.”...

GOP Words: PHILOSOPHY, n. Religion.

Monday, July 18, 2005

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Interview: "Guilty until proven innocent" Mickey Z. Interviews Dr. Walter M. Brasch
Trying to boost support for the PATRIOT Act, President Bush has been claiming in several post-election campaign appearances that the Act has been responsible for more than 400 arrests and 200 convictions of terrorists. However, an analysis by the Washington Post reveals that only 39 persons were convicted of crimes related to terrorism; most were convicted of immigration law violations. A better way to look at that would be that half of those arrested were not guilty of terrorism or that the government could not find enough evidence to pursue a case. Overall, conviction is a dismal 9.75 percent of those arrested. Now, let's look at those 39. The average sentence was less than a year, which puts it in the misdemeanor not felony sentencing guidelines....A reality is that every one of those 39 convictions could have been obtained under laws that existed prior to the passage of the PATRIOT Act.

Fiction: Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling (1st paragraph)
"It was nearing midnight and the Prime Minister was sitting alone in his office, reading a long memo that was slipping through his brain without leaving the slightest trace of meaning behind. He was waiting for a call from the President of a far distant country, and between wondering when the wretched man would telephone, and trying to suppress unpleasant memories of what had been a very long, tiring, and difficult week, there was not much space in his head for anything else...."

Mojotoons: Karl Rove Talking Points, by Tom Tomorrow

Sunday, July 17, 2005

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Opinion: Iraqi Oil, Bush Bagmen, And Government Goon Squads, Chris Floyd
They were still scraping body parts out of the blasted carriages in the London Underground last week when the terrorists brazenly announced a harvest of blood fruits from their murderous campaign. The declaration -- bone-chilling in its moral nullity, its brutal cynicism -- was made in the fearsome name of Jihad. That would be Asim Jihad, of course, spokesman for the Iraqi Oil Ministry. Yes, just one day after London's agony, the state terrorists who perpetrated the ongoing mass atrocity of aggressive war in Iraq celebrated an important victory in their campaign of violence and fear: 11 juicy oil fields are being put up for tender to international investors, AdnKronos International reports.

Opinion: Rove's Latest Smear Campaign: Targeting MoveOn, Doug Ireland
In a hydra-headed propaganda attack, reminiscent of Joe McCarthy's wild charges in the 1950s that the Democrats were responsible for "twenty years of treason," Karl Rove and the Republican Party are engaged in a widespread smear campaign against MoveOn as" unpatriotic," hoping to hang the successful e-fundraising operation around the necks of Democratic candidates all across the country like a terror-tinged albatross.

We're Watching: Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York" (Miramax)

Sunday Bible School: (Actual test answers.)
Moses died before he ever reached Canada.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

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Opinion: A Powerful Man Glimpses His Demons, Bernard Weiner
"I keep getting the same [bad dream] over and over, night after night, and sometimes even in naps during the day. I'm swimming in a huge ocean that is covered in sticky black stuff, like molasses; I can hardly move. Then the molasses or whatever suddenly starts turning red, and I hear moans of agony all around me. I realize that I'm crying red tears. It occurs to me that the ocean is made up of my tears. And that's when I wake up, covered in sweat."

Garlic: Man on the Street: Karl Rove's Leaks
New York Times pundit Paul Krugman recently wrote, "As part of the effort to discredit Joseph Wilson IV [who questioned certain Bush comments about Iraq's alleged WMDs], Mr. Rove leaked the fact that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for the C.I.A. I don't know whether Mr. Rove can be convicted of a crime, but there's no question that he damaged national security for partisan advantage. If a Democrat had done that, Republicans would call it treason." What do you think?

We're Listening: Don Byron's, "ivey-divey" (EMI)

friday, July 15, 2005

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Bush Diary: Accents-- and the Dragon's Teeth, Peter Clothier
I used to get a chuckle, Bush, out of hearing people of West Indian origin speaking with pure Cockney accents. Obviously, they were London born and bred, so it ought not to have been surprising to hear their accents; but I left England in 1962, and from then on returned only occasionally to visit family, so I missed the major influx of immigrants that must have arrived there in the 1960s and 1970s. Yes, there was a growing Indian and Pakistani population before I left--we used to have fun with the Peter Sellers spoof of their accent on The Goon Show--and there was the beginning of new arrivals from the West Indies. But it was a surprise to me, on my visits "home," starting in the 1980s, to hear the voices of the native born children of early immigrants.

Opinion: The "Palestinian Ghandis" Of Blin, by Doug Ireland
Even as Israel's Sharon government this week asks another $2.2 Billion in U.S. aid, it is stepping up construction of its apartheid Wall of Shame against the Palestinians -- right on the first annivrsary of the ruling by the International Court of Justice that the Wall is illegal and must be torn down. The tiny Palestinian village of Bilin, which will be rent asunder by the Wall, has for months been carrying out a series of creatively non-violent demonstrations against the Wall's construction and the destruction of their village that has the press christening them "the Palestinian Gandhis." Where is the massive outcry in support of the "Palestinian Gandhis" from the U.S. anti-war movement?

We're Reading: Jerzy Kosinski's "Blind Date" (Grove Press)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

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Bush Watch Interview: Chuck Van Wey interviews author and gadfly logician, Jamie Whyte
Jamie Whyte is a former lecturer of Philosophy at Cambridge University and winner of Analysis Journal’s prestigious prize for the best article by a philosopher under 30.  He has published numerous articles – mainly on the subject of truth – in academic journals. He has been a regular columnist for The Times of London and a contributor to The Guardian.  He divides his time between his native New Zealand and the UK. In Crimes Against Logic: Exposing the Bogus Arguments of Politicians, Priests, Journalists, and Other Serial Offenders (McGraw-Hill, November 2004; Softcover, $12.95), Whyte rips apart the confused thought processes of talking heads, religious leaders, and respected journalists.  He even addresses the mish-mash that may be going on in your own head.  His mission is to encourage readers to seek absolute truth, and he makes the case that we don’t have a right to our own opinions. Why? It’s in the book. Jamie and I recently sat down at our keyboards – he in wintry New Zealand and I in autumnal Seattle (don't ask) – for the following exchange.

Verse: American Youth - Be All You Can Be - Stay Home, Bob Miller
Don t believe the hype. They ll use you like a condom, then toss you aside in the middle of the night.
Mom and Dad, we re not talking about your car; you can t trust the man who wears the star.
The guy who lives in our House has proven beyond a doubt - when there s trouble, he ll hide out. But never fear. When his babysitters hear the All clear , they ll rush him from the rear wearing fighting gear. They ll place him among our heroes wearing the red, white and blue, in hopes his yellow won t show through.
If you re black, brown or like me from the wrong side of town, you re going down. Don t worry little sister, they have no shame; they ll include you in their war game.
These demons from hell stand on the pro-life platform and yell, In God We Trust , while blowing both child and parent back into dust.
It s Robin Hood in reverse; trust me, it s well rehearsed; they ve even bought the church. From our savings and loans they moved on. With Enron in their pocket, they took off like a rocket and now we re a minority, and they re the moral majority.
You d better listen kid or you ll end up like my friend, dead or even worse, you ll end up like me with P.T.S.D.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

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Opinion: TeenScreen: Mandatory Screening Never Entered Its Mind, Evelyn Pringle
The Bush initiative plans to provide “social and emotional check-ups” in all primary healthcare facilities, which means parents and kids both can wonder whether they are being assessed for a mental illness every time they set foot into a doctor’s office....Any kid they decide is mentally ill will be put on drugs....Isn't life grand now that we have Big Brother backed by the pharmaceutical industry?.

Quotes: Big Bush Lies About Rove, Jerry Politex
• "If there's a leak in my administration, I want to know who it is." --George W. Bush
• "The White House has flatly rejected as "ridiculous" and "just not true" suggestions that the source in question was Karl Rove..." --Globe and Mail
• "There's been nothing, absolutely nothing, brought to our attention to suggest any White House involvement, and that includes the vice president's office, as well,...if anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration." --Bush Press Sec. Scott McCellan
• "McClellan said Rove "wasn't involved" in any disclosure of the operative's name. "The president knows he wasn't involved. . . . It's simply not true." --Washington Post
• "In early October 2003, NEWSWEEK reported that immediately after Novak's column appeared in July, Rove called MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews and told him that Wilson's wife was "fair game." But White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters at the time that any suggestion that Rove had played a role in outing Plame was "totally ridiculous."" --MSNBC
• "White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove spoke with at least one reporter about Valerie Plame's role at the CIA before she was identified as a covert agent in a newspaper column two years ago, but Rove's lawyer said yesterday that his client did not identify her by name." --Washington Post
• "I didn't know her name, and I didn't leak her name." --Karl Rove
• "Federal law prohibits intentionally disclosing "any information identifying" a covert operative. So Rove broke the law, right? Unless he insists he didn't know she was a covert CIA agent. But how did he know Wilson's wife [last name, Plame] even worked for the CIA? After all, she was undercover." --Ward Harkavy
• "So, Rove's defense now hangs on one word—he "never knowingly disclosed classified information." Does that mean Rove simply didn't know Valerie Plame was a covert agent? Or does it just mean that Rove did not know that the CIA was "taking affirmative measures" to hide her identity? --Lawrence O'Donnell
• Getting Off Scott Free: AP Presents McClellan's Past Quotes on Rove and Plame --to July 11, 2005
• "Nearly two years after stating that any administration official found to have been involved in leaking the name of an undercover C.I.A. officer would be fired, and assuring that Karl Rove and other senior aides to President Bush had nothing to do with the disclosure, the White House on Monday refused to answer any questions about new evidence of Mr. Rove's role in the matter." --Washington Post
• "The real Rove scandal...If you can't shoot the messenger, take aim at his wife. That clearly was the intent of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove in leaking to a reporter that former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV's wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA agent. To try to conceal the fact that the president had lied to the American public about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program, Rove attempted to destroy the credibility of two national security veterans and send an intimidating message to any other government officials preparing to publicly tell the truth. Rove's lawyer now says that Rove didn't break the law against naming covert agents because he didn't know Plame's name and therefore couldn't have revealed it. Perhaps he can use such a technicality in court, but in the meantime he should resign immediately — or be fired by the president — for leaking classified information, trying to smear Wilson and possibly endangering Plame's life." --Robert Scheer, LAT

Quip: Gentlemen, Mr. Bush is running late. He suggests you begin sucking up without him."

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

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Opinion: Into the void of evil: The Bush Torture Ghostwriter, Chris Floyd
Last Friday, the former physician of ex-President George H.W. Bush wrote a guest column for The Washington Post. Two days later, the attorney general appointed by current President George W. Bush made a surprise visit to Baghdad. These seemingly unrelated events are not only inextricably linked; together they form a portrait of a nation gone wretchedly astray, hurtling into a moral void from which there may be no return.

Letter: Congress, a Bush Watch reader
The real problem is not the democrats or even the republicans - rather its the whole institution of goverment. Washington has become an end to itself, steeped in self-inerest and totally corrupt. It's merely wishful thinking that pointed criticism may somehow bring about improvement. I think a more useful approach would be a massive outdoor advertising program highlighting the utter folly of what we now view as a federal govenment and, also, begin pointed personal attacks on vulnerable senators and congressmen. I'd cheerfully kick in a few thousand to get it started.

Words: THE MEDIA, n. Immoral elitist liberally-biased traitors who should leave Republicans alone so they can complete God's work on Earth in peace and quiet, behind closed doors. --Katrina vanden Heuvel

Monday, July 11, 2005

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Dem Watch: Keeping Up With The Dems, Jerry Politex
With 17 key votes under their belts, 48% of the Senate Dems in the 109th Congress vote Republican more often than Democratic. While Boxer leads the Dems with a 96% Dem vote record, and Kennedy follows with 90%, Hillary Clinton, who leads the list of '08 potential Dem presidential candidates in various national polls, only votes traditionally Democratic 66% of the time. While we've recently reported on the Dems who defected to the Bush camp on his energy bill, a number of Senate Dem votes during late May and early June, as well as the recent CAFTA vote, have now been added to our running list of key Senate Dem votes that have been taken by the 109th Congress.

Opinion: The Media Farce Over Iran's Newly Elected President, Walter C. Uhler
Recently, Americans have been treated to the spectacle of America's mainstream news media stumbling over itself while attempting to define the newly elected President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for American readers and viewers. To anyone still reeling from its impotent interrogation of (and robust support for) the Bush administration's transparently spurious rationale for invading Iraq, this week's media performance was both frightening and depressing.

Mojotoons: Terrorists Suck, by Tom Tomorrow

Sunday, July 10, 2005

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Opinion: Hinges of History, Ernest Partridge
Clearly, the Bush administration is coming upon hard times, with no end in sight for the Iraq disaster, with less and less of the public believing Bush’s and Cheney’s lies, with at least a few prominent Democrats growing some spine, with the growing influence of alternative media, and, as a result of all of this and more, a continuing decline of public approval of Bush and his regime. In this volatile political environment, here are a few “hinges” that come to mind, many of which are closely interconnected. No doubt the informed and engaged reader will think of many more.

Opinion: Bush's war on terror is a colossal failure , Haroon Siddiqui
This is a Bush-ian formulation: they hate us because we are free. It cleverly obviates any need for self-scrutiny. It is also patently false. Terrorists, if they are to be believed, are targeting us because of our policies in Muslim lands. Thursday's communiqué made that clear enough. Terrorists also have already changed our way of life. Abu Ghraib. Guantanamo Bay. Secret prisons abroad. "Renditions." Torture. Assassinations. CIA abductions, even on the friendly soil of Italy. Fear still rules America. Even after waging a war on false pretences, Bush can find refuge from low approval ratings by continuing to link Iraq to 9/11, as he did the other day before — where else? — military cadets. Our own governments are invading our privacy, suspending civil liberties, criminalizing entire communities and repeatedly exhorting us to be "vigilant," thereby risking vigilantism, the anti-thesis of the rule of law....Paul Martin and other leaders, cowered into co-operating with Bush, need to start saying that the emperor has no clothes

We're Watching: Martin Scorsese's "Aviator" (Warner Brothers)

Sunday Bible School: (Actual test answers.)
The seventh commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery.

Saturday, July 9, 2005

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Opinion: Novak Squealed, David Corn
...That brings me to my best guess of what did happen: Novak told [special prosecutor] Fitzgerald a story that helps his sources. It went something like this:
Yes, Mr. Fitzgerald, Bush Aide X and Bush Aide Y both told me that Valerie Plame worked at the CIA and that they suspected she had sent Joseph Wilson on his now-infamous trip to Niger where he determined it was highly unlikely that Iraq had been shopping there for uranium to be used in a nuclear weapons program. But neither one of these two fine Americans told me that she was an undercover operative at the CIA.  If you will again look at what I wrote, I referred to her as an "Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction." I never reported she was in a secret position.  In fact, the use of the word "operative"—which I suppose could connote a clandestine position but does not necessarily do so—was mine alone. These sources merely said to me she was employed at the CIA. As a newspaper columnist, I used the most evocative term I could think of at the time. I take full responsibility for that.
And to make everything neat and tidy, Bush Aide X and Bush Aide Y each essentially said the same thing to Fitzgerald:
I heard hallway chatter that Valerie Plame was at the CIA and that she had something to do with Wilson's trip to Niger. I passed this on to Novak and Time magazine.  I was never aware that she was working undercover or that by sharing this gossip I would be disclosing confidential information that identified a covert official. After all, as you know, Mr. Fitzgerald, not every CIA employee is a clandestine official.
Voila. No crime. A thuggish act of political retribution that destroyed a CIA officer's career and undermined national security, yes. But no crime.

Opinion: Are They Really Selling Their Souls For Bush? Paul Begala, 12/01/00
What I'm looking for are signs of hypocrisy from the right-wing justices. Having been praised by Bush and criticized by Gore, Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia will be hard-pressed to be objective. Together with Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas have crusaded for greater deference to the rights of states vis-à-vis the federal government. Now they're being asked to adopt the very sort of judicial activism they claim to abhor. So while this [Bush vs. Gore] case is unlikely to determine the outcome of the election [It did.--Politex], it will go a long way toward defining Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas in the history of jurisprudence. If they are true to their principles, they'll uphold the right of the Florida Supreme Court to interpret Florida law without meddling from Washington. But if they go the other way, History will say they were little more than results-oriented partisans, embracing or eschewing whatever legal philosophy it takes to give their right-wing patrons the power they crave [The were. --Politex]...Banana Republicans in black robes."

We're Listening: Various, "Hotel Costes, Etage 3" (WAAM)

friday, July 8, 2005

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Opinion: London's Calling, CSM Ed
Global terrorists need a particular kind of audience reaction more than they need to destroy a place or kill people. They need a reaction of either fear and submission, or one of vengeful, unrestrained lashing out. The first one erodes a society from within. The second creates an overreach that incapacitates a society....Terrorists learn by each new reaction to their dreaded deeds. Evil acts thrive only when good people respond in ways that play to the very purposes of those acts....London's mayor, Ken Livingstone, knew enough Thursday to talk directly to the July 7 plotters: "I can tell you now that you will fail in your long-term objectives to destroy our free society."

Opinion: Tax Dollars Pay For Vaccine-Damaged Kids, Evelyn Pringle
During the same time period that the number of doses of childhood vaccines nearly tripled and vaccination rates soared to nearly 95% for five year olds, the number of kids diagnosed with immune and brain system disorders skyrocketed. There is only one commonality in these children - they received vaccines that contained the mercury-based preservative thimerosal.

We're Reading: Sam Harris's "The End Of Faith" (Norton)

Thursday, July 7, 2005

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Opinion: Bush, 1999: "If I have a chance to invade ... I'm not going to waste it," Chris Floyd
Last week, President George W. Bush gave a big speech "explaining" the Iraq war to the American people. It was the usual load of lying blather and false piety -- deeply, even murderously cynical. But there's no point in wasting a single thought over these clown shows anymore. Bush is a nasty little moral cretin fronting a gang of elitist thugs whose only concerns are loot and power. Nothing he says has the slightest credibility. Only his actions -- crimes soaked with human blood -- have any meaning or truth. So let's deal in truth. Let's talk about crime.

Opinion: Ed Klein's New Hillary Book, Doug Ireland
Edward Klein’s new book on Hillary Clinton, published recently, bears the portentous title "The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She’ll Go To Become President." It has been the object of carefully nurtured buzz: Matt Drudge touted it as a book that could “destroy” Hillary’s presidential ambitions, and mega-right Web sites like NewsMax have gushed similar hype. Vanity Fair, for which Klein scribbles with some regularity, ran an excerpt with extravagant fanfare. And the book is already #2 on Amazon's best-seller list, thanks largely to conservative promotions. Alas, this rather slim, air-filled volume — many chapters are only three pages long — is a very wet firecracker indeed.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

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Opinion: ...And A Justice For All, Walter Brasch
 Part of President Bush’s legacy will be what he does with the nomination for Justice O’Connor’s replacement. If he continues to disregard the advice of those who aren’t his closest political advisors and sticks to his promise to nominate someone acceptable to the evangelical right-wing of his party, his legacy may be further tarnished. Not only would he show disrespect of the legacy of Justice O’Connor, but will have set into motion a political battle that may eventually lead not only to a greater division in the country, but of a Supreme Court that may be responsible for a further reduction of Constitutional freedoms.

Opinion: Miller and Cooper: Two Differenct Cases, Margie Burns
In spite of all the publicity over the cases of Time reporter Matthew Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller -- cases the Supreme Court declined to hear -- little is known definitively even now about how many times reporters were contacted by those unnamed "administration officials" who leaked the item that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA operative....It is hard to understand why Miller's case, in particular, is about "protecting sources."

Bible School: (Actual test answers.)
The seventh commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

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Opinion: 15 Things I Learned About Bush And Company, Bernard Weiner
When 9/11 arrived, something snapped open in me, as it did for many Americans. The world indeed had changed, not just the fact that the U.S. was attacked in such a horrific way and had to respond but also, and perhaps more significantly, in the brazen, power-hungry way the Bush Administration had chosen to use those multiple terror-murders.

Letter: Send In The Chickenhawks, Richard Wirtanen, Lt. Colonel, RET
I think it is time for Rummy and the rest of the chickenhawks to move into the green zone until the Iraq conflict ends. Then, we will see a time line and learn how quickly you can disengage from a conflict such as this. They can run their war from there, not here. Also, they can base FOX news there. Where else can you get a better understanding of what is going on but to be there.
In 1970, I was a canadian citizen who was going to school in the US. My family was living in Virginia and I wanted to be close by so, I went to a local community college. I was drafted by the US government to go to Vietnam. I fought to get a draft deferment and was turned down. Cheney was not turned down, but I was, just because I had a green card. No one could understand that I was not a citizen and a student because they needed cannon fodder for THEIR WAR. After much pressure to be put in jail because I refused to be drafted as a Canadian, I made a deal with the Air Force that I would become a citizen and become an officer. I did and after 20 years retired.
It makes me sick to think of the chickenhawks who sat on the sidelines, who are now responsible for this mess in Iraq, while I, a non-citizen was impressed into the Vietnam war effort. Remember how the British impressed sailors to fight in their navy? I believe that was one of the reasons for the war of 1812, along with a lot of other minor issues.
So after 20 years in the bowels of the military, I emerged disgusted with the corrupt government that I served under and feel betrayed by the chickenhawks who have led our current military into another Vietnam scenerio of body counts, lies and corruption. The honor of this nation has been put at risk by the chickenhawks. Perhaps today, we can think about standing up to these people who are destroying what this nation is about.

Words: MANDATE, n. What a Republican claims to possess when only 49 percent of the voting public loathes him instead of 51 percent. --Katrina vanden Heuvel

Monday, July 4, 2005

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Quote: The Real Meaning Of July 4th, Derek Maul
"This is our government; this country belongs to all of us." Indeed, how can freedom crumble when both the idea of liberty and the responsibility for its stewardship reside in the people? How can such a dream be eroded when authority is vested not in a favored few but with the average Joe? The extraordinary influence of American citizens is guaranteed in the very Constitution that breathed life into this nascent republic when it was struggling to find its feet.
However, every time government acts to increase the distance between real power and the people our government is commissioned to serve, we move a little further away from the meaning of July 4.That's why it concerned me so much last week when the Supreme Court aligned itself with government and corporate interests at the expense of the rights of individual property owners. It is not the first such move however; I smell the makings of a trend. When the government makes arrests on the basis of secret evidence; when taxing agencies overreach boundaries and abuse their power; when evidence increasingly suggests that, while we trusted them, leaders knowingly deceived us; when members of Congress award themselves privileges and benefits not available to those they purportedly serve; when the lifestyles of our representatives in Washington more closely resemble those of rock stars or European royalty than public servants.
People tend to withdraw when they feel powerless and "out of the loop;" people tend to stay away from the ballot box when they no longer feel any relationship to those who govern; people tend to live outside the political process when they stop believing it pertains to them.Don't get me wrong; I'm not worried that we're going to have another revolution in America. Instead, I'm worried that people aren't going to care any longer; I'm concerned that they won't believe any more.

Opinion: Letter From Oklahoma: July 4th And I Can't Celebrate, K.J. Lovell
The current wave of change should send a wave of shock through any normal thinking person in America. The changes are daily and growing in gravity. We the people have voluntarily given up our civil and constitutional rights, whether through apathy or simply being too busy to pay attention to current events. We continue to do it daily with no regard to the big picture. Here are ten examples of where we could be heading:

Verse: I Am A Patriot, Steve Van Zandt
I am a patriot, and I love my country, Because my country is all I know.
Wanna be with my family, People who understand me. I got no place else to go.
And I ain ' t no communist, And I ain ' t no socialist,
And I ain ' t no capitalist, And I ain ' t no imperialist,
And I ain ' t no Democrat, Sure ain ' t no Republican either,
I only know one party, And that is freedom.

Mojotoons: Interns Against Interring, by Tom Tomorrow

Sunday, July 3, 2005

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Opinion: Is Gotham Worth Saving?, Daniel Patrick Welch
Summer is here. The choking ajajas of Baghdad coat everything in a pale yellow dust. Meanwhile, back at imperial headquarters, the sandman effect of the Summer movie list coaxes Americans back to sleep, our attention spans and consciences soothed into complacency, in contrast to the suffocating Sumerian sandstorms. Kick back and enjoy your popcorn in the artificial bubble of petroleum-driven, air-conditioned bliss, while the bubble outside shows signs of bursting. Batman Begins debuts in this atmosphere, and although no comic strip dystopia can quite capture the grim specter of America's decline, Christopher Nolan's morbid depiction is more than mere fantasy.

Editorial: Replace GDP With GNH, Christine
While we spend much of our time here looking at the free-market corporatist antics of the Bush administration and deride their blatantly arrogant and fascist actions, it is also the society at large that enables a consumerist globalized dysfunctional economy. In other words Bush may be a problem but he and his minion are by no means the whole problem -- we all are. Symptoms of the dysfunction are our obsession with rate of profit growth and such measures as Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As some of you are no doubt aware there is a crazy notion going back to the Greeks, the Buddha and others that people fundamentally seek happiness. Our globalized society attempts to define happiness in terms of material things, but most of know that there's more to it than good food, good times, a nice house, and a cool spouse/partner etc. But just what is happiness, genuine happiness, what the Greeks called eudaemonia? Well the King of Bhutan and his ministers have been developing and promoting the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH) and last month in Antigonish, Nova Scotia was the Second Internal Conference on Gross National Happiness. There are quite a few interesting papers and other resources available at the site. GNH is worth a lot more attention than GDP as a way of undertanding whether society is satisfying the basic need to create the causes and conditions in which humans (and ultimately the entire planet) can flourish.

We're Watching: Dong-Hyun's "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...And Spring" (Sony)

Quip: December 2008: "Well that about does it, Mr. Bush, we've outsourced everything."

Saturday, July 2, 2005

Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world by the editors of Bush Watch
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Opinion: Child Abuse in Bush's Babylon, Chris Floyd
When the public liars sat down together - in Crawford, Texas, in the Pentagon, in the Oval Office, in 10 Downing Street - and very deliberately, very guilefully and very knowingly devised their act of mass murder in Iraq, it is unlikely they gave any thought to the most vulnerable targets of their war crime: the children. So in considering this aspect of the bloodbath, we should give the liars the benefit of the doubt. Let's not make them more monstrous than they are. Let's stick to the facts.

Bush Lies: Flip-Flopping In The Bush War Speech, #2, Marc Sandalow
Two weeks before the United States attacked Iraq, President Bush told the American people: "Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament. And in order to disarm, it would mean regime change.''
Tuesday evening on prime-time television, 28 months later, Bush said: "Our mission in Iraq is clear. We are hunting down the terrorists. We are helping Iraqis build a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror. We are advancing freedom in the broader Middle East.''

We're Listening: Various, "Saint-Germain-des-Pres Cafe IV" (WAAM)

friday, July 1, 2005

Today's 100+ bush headlines: Selected from around the world by the editors of Bush Watch
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Opinion: The Only Serious Question Left, Peter Clothier
It was Albert Camus, wasn't it, Bush, who suggested in his signature novel, The Stranger, that the only philosophical question worth considering was whether or not to commit suicide? Oh, I loved that question--and that novel--as a dark young man in the heyday of French Existentialism! It suited my dark, poetic (so I thought!) self. In those days, back in the mid-1950s, I wore black clothes, smoked Gauloises, and thought I was James Dean.

Bush Lies: Flip-Flopping In The Bush War Speech, Sally Bookwalter
In 1999, George W. Bush criticized President Clinton for not setting a timetable for exiting Kosovo, and yet he refuses to apply the same standard to his war:
George W. Bush, 4/9/99:
"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is."

And on the specific need for a timetable, here s what Bush said then and what he says now:
George W. Bush, 6/5/99:
"I think it s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn."
George W. Bush, 6/24/05:
"It doesn t make any sense to have a timetable. You know, if you give a timetable, you re you re conceding too much to the enemy."

We're Reading: R.W. Apple's "Apple's America" (North Point)

June Archives

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


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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

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
Tools Of Bioterrorism