Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tom Toles Tuesday

Monday, October 30, 2006

Say a prayer for their families.

According to the latest from the AP, the US death toll reached 101 today, with a total of 2814 since George's War began. And if you believe that God watches over all of us, include the thousands of Iraqi families who also suffered this month.

Tom Reynolds gives great values

Yesterday I had a post on the Republican National Committee and their support from the porn industry, including the well known and shop worn starlet Mary Carey. I mentioned Ms. Carey's entrance into the DC political scene last year. Well, it seems that John at AmericaBlog uncovered her latest efforts on behalf of the RNC.
Remember how I wrote earlier about how the Republicans gladly and openly accepted a $5000 donation from porn superstar Mary Carey last year? Well Carey donated again this year, and again the Republican party was happy to accept her donation AND to give her the reward of a dinner and lunch with George Bush and Karl Rove. Carey had the following to say on her return to Washington:

"I'm always excited to learn more about what's going on in our nation's capital, since most people in the porn industry think an Iraqi pullout is a form of safe sex."

And the best part, the Republican party invited her to come. Who exactly invited her? Why, none other than embattled Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY) and his Nation Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).
At least Mary waits until her sex partners are old enough in all 50 states, but you really do have to question Tom's judgement.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Porn and Republicans, perfect together.

We all remember the invitation to a political dinner with Our Dear Embattled Leader that Mary Carey, a well known and shop worn porn starlet received from the RNC. Josh Marshall has the news that a regular contributor to the RNC is also the owner of a major gay porn studio. John at AmericaBlog has more in this story.

Damn the values, Republicans love that money and who cares what it smells like.

This Week in Toons

Straight from your pocket

The LA Times has a good look at how TurdBlossom is hard at work to keep the Republican grip on power. Part of that effort is to redirect a little of the monies borrowed from China and Saudi Arabia toward the lesser folks who are useful every two years, but not in between.
But the most significant element of Rove's effort to help four-term Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds keep his job may have occurred behind closed doors, when the White House strategist met with a federal disaster relief official contemplating how to respond to the storm. Four days later, Reynolds announced that President Bush would authorize millions of dollars in federal disaster aid for the area.

The timing was perfect: Reynolds broke the news hours after testifying before the House Ethics Committee about his role in the Mark Foley sex scandal — knocking reports on the scandal out of the spotlight.

Reynolds' fate Nov. 7 could be a bellwether for Republicans in the Northeast — in the midterm election as well as the long term. And his poll numbers crashed after revelations that he had known about suspicious e-mails the former Florida congressman had sent to male congressional pages. In the wake of the announcement about federal aid, a survey by a Buffalo television station showed Reynolds regaining a narrow lead over Democrat Jack Davis.

The White House and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which will provide the funds, say Rove exerted no influence on the decision to grant relief or on the timing of the announcement.

"The stars were aligned. It was a coincidence," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.
The really sad part of this is that, had Tom Reynolds not been in trouble the designation would never have happened. To believe otherwise is to be living in Wolkenkuckucksheim.

Anthony Shadid returns to Baghdad

And the city he sees is a terrible sight. As he describes places and meetings with people he knew during his previous time as a reporter, he describes a descent into the kind of hell we have seen before in Yugoslavia and Lebanon.
It had been almost a year since I was in the Iraqi capital, where I worked as a reporter in the days of Saddam Hussein, the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, and the occupation, guerrilla war and religious resurgence that followed. On my return, it was difficult to grasp how atomized and violent the 1,250-year-old city has become. Even on the worst days, I had always found Baghdad's most redeeming quality to be its resilience, a tenacious refusal among people I met over three years to surrender to the chaos unleashed when the Americans arrived. That resilience is gone, overwhelmed by civil war, anarchy or whatever term could possibly fit. Baghdad now is convulsed by hatred, paralyzed by suspicion; fear has forced many to leave. Carnage its rhythm and despair its mantra, the capital, it seems, no longer embraces life.

"A city of ghosts," a friend told me, her tone almost funereal.
Despite his belief otherwise, what Our Dear Embattled Leader has done to Baghdad, to Iraq and to its people will be his lasting legacy. And, if he were really the Christian he pretends to be, his lasting shame.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Oh Canada

This was in yesterdays Toronto Star and it is spot on. So much so that I had to post the whole thing. Sometimes our friends across the lake just have their heads screwed on a little tighter.
Everyone knows Rush Limbaugh's just faking
Oct. 27, 2006. 01:00 AM

Now, I know this may offend those who suffer from this particular condition, and these individuals might not like it much when I suggest that a certain person with this diagnosis is exaggerating his symptoms, but I have to say, I think Rush Limbaugh is just pretending to be a dick.

While the right-wing radio host does exhibit most, if not all, of the common characteristics of this behaviour, it's so rare for all of them to coalesce at a single moment that one can only conclude Limbaugh's most recent performances are nothing short of fraudulent.

I'm no expert diagnostician, but nobody could be this big a one. Limbaugh must be acting.

Consider what Rush Limbaugh said this week about Michael J. Fox.

The Canadian-born actor did an ad for a U.S. politician who supports stem cell research, a controversial field that many believe could lead to a cure for Parkinson's disease. Fox suffers from Parkinson's, and anyone who has seen him in television interviews in the last few years is aware of his symptoms. Awkward, involuntary movements, occasional speech difficulty, tremors.

Those symptoms are much in evidence in the ad.

Said Limbaugh on his radio show: "He is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He's moving all around and shaking and it's clearly an act." Limbaugh also suggested Fox probably went off his medication before filming the ad.

It's difficult to imagine that anyone could say anything so amazingly uninformed, so incredibly moronic, and actually believe it. That's why I'm so convinced Limbaugh was acting.

At this point, it's probably useful to review the most common symptoms exhibited by a person with EDS (extreme dick syndrome) for those not up to speed on them:

1. Exhibits a level of arrogance rooted in a feeling of superiority, without having any attributes to feel superior about.

2. Is capable of achieving levels of hypocrisy (railing against drug addicts when you are one, for example) previously thought unattainable.

3. Blow-hardedness.

4. Is indifferent to the woes and misfortunes of the disadvantaged.

5. Lies his ass off.

6. Goes to the "6 items or less" checkout with a dozen things.

7. Never lets ignorance of a subject keep him from shooting his mouth off about it.

8. Believes facts are overrated.

9. Chews with his mouth open.

10. Always finds some little thing the waitress did wrong to justify not leaving a tip.

Anyone who has four or more of these symptoms is very likely suffering from EDS. Sadly, at the moment there's no known cure for this condition. Researchers are still debating whether you're born with it, or it's a lifestyle choice. The real problem is, people with this condition don't make for a very sympathetic cause.

But in Limbaugh's case, it's probably a moot point, since he's just putting on a show.

My guess, in fact, is that Rush Limbaugh is a liberal plant. A Democratic plant. The Democrats, who appear to be on the verge of winning back both houses of Congress, don't want to leave anything to chance. What better way to turn things their way than for a prominent spokesperson for the right wing (nudge nudge, wink wink) to say something so astonishingly and despicably vile that it will make fair-minded Republicans vote Democrat, or at the very least, stay home.

I know these statements of mine are going to enrage genuine sufferers of EDS everywhere. "How dare he say that!" they'll say. "We know we're rude and insensitive and total jerks 24/7, and he's got a lot of nerve suggesting otherwise."

I will say this, however. If it can be determined by an independent panel of experts that Rush Limbaugh is, in fact, a dick, I will apologize, unreservedly.

Reach Linwood Barclay by email at lbarclay@thestar.ca. Website: http://www.linwoodbarclay.com.

Grannys threaten Republican with donuts

In Melissa Hart's favor the story does not say if the donuts were fresh or not so in her mind she may have felt she had reason to be afraid of her own constituents. More likely she was, like most Republicans, rightfully afraid of a group of people she had screwed.
Seems like in Allison Park, Pa., near Pittsburgh, the biggest threat to public security is 40 senior citizens carrying donuts. Yesterday, staff at Rep. Melissa Hart’s (R-Pa.) district office called for three armed police from nearby Hampton Township to disperse the group of seniors, all members of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans (PARA), who sought to deliver donuts to Hart’s office to protest the new Medicare law.
Seems to me that the biggest 'hole was not in the donuts or Medicare.

Esquire changes its mind

Esquire magazine, in its last print issue, ran a piece with their endorsements for all the major state and federal races this year. Between the time the print was set and the issue came out online something interesting changed in the NY-26 district, and in the endorsement there.
District 26
Tom Reynolds (R)
Jack Davis (D)
Tom Reynolds is heading the Republican reelection push this year, so he's a busy man. Luckily, his opponent is a "Democrat" who describes himself, in fact, as a Goldwater Republican--and a wealthy industrialist who supports protectionist economic policies. Get with the times, Jack.
Esquire endorses: Reynolds

You know what? In the wake of the Foley Scandal there's no way in hell we can endorse a man who bravely stepped before the microphones to say he didn't know anything about anything, and managed to surround himself with children to do it. What a dirtball. Esquire now endorses: Davis
Well, whaddaya know? A Republican loses an endorsement on a values issue. Who'da thunk it?

You're in good hands with anybody but the Transportation Security Administration

And the LA Times has the story of how carefully the TSA now checks up on airline cargo employees. If this doesn't make you take the train, nothing will.
The Transportation Security Administration has rolled back the deadlines for criminal-background checks for tens of thousands of airline workers who handle cargo loaded onto passenger airplanes, saying the industry cannot meet the timetables.

"TSA has concluded that the regulated community will be unable to meet some deadlines in the air cargo final rule because of the large number of employees and agents subject to the requirements," the agency said in a notice published this week.

The rules were originally slated to go into effect from Oct . 23 to Dec. 1. They require background checks and security training for an estimated 50,000 workers employed by the airlines or by airline contractors handling cargo, said TSA spokesman Darrin Kayser.

Under the new timetables, several deadlines have been pushed back as far as mid-2007. The agency also will open the regulation to a new round of public comment, which could lead to more changes.
Now this is more likely to result in stolen valuables than bombs planted but I doubt you will consider the difference if either one happens to you. Still you have to love the many new and exciting ways the Republicans continue to demonstrate their incompetence more than 5 years after the World Trade Center tragedy.

Who's Who in Iraq

A short closeup look at one of the players in Iraq gives us a real good reason to believe that we have "been too long at the fair".
When U.S. and Iraqi forces swept into Baghdad’s Sadr City slum this week, they were unsuccessfully chasing one of the most dangerous men in the city — a rogue Shiite militiaman who is a hero to his fighters and a feared killer to the capital’s Sunni population.

Two of the wanted man’s neighbors said the Mahdi Army commander, known as Abu Diraa, Arabic for Father of the Shield, actually is Ismail al-Lami, the father of at least a dozen children from two marriages.

Short, muscular, bearded and with a darker skin than most Iraqis, Abu Diraa cannot read or write and once earned a living as a fishmonger. Like many Sadr City residents, the death squad leader hails from the southern province of Maysan.

“If he had some education, he would have made a good leader. He is brave and serious,” said Amer al-Husseini, a Shiite cleric and a senior Baghdad aide of radical anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, the spiritual leader of the Mahdi Army.
We want the Iraqi government to get rid of people like this, overlooking the fact that people like this are al-Maliki's base.. He can no more move against him than Our Dear Embattled leader can move against radical whackos like James Dobson. And our troops will have no better luck against his like because of this attitude in the Iraqi people.
“I don’t care what they say about him,” Kadhim al-Mohammedawi said. “It is enough for me that he killed Americans in defense of Sadr City. Everyone loves him.”
Someone explain to me again why we are still in Iraq.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Quote of the Day

“I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty"
Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, on why he does not use hand sanitizer while campaigning.

A good businessman knows his market

Or perhaps it is just the smell of corporate CYA in the morning, but either way the NY Times is reporting a shift in corporate political donations as we approach Election Day.
Corporate America is already thinking beyond Election Day, increasing its share of last-minute donations to Democratic candidates and quietly devising strategies for how to work with Democrats if they win control of Congress.

The shift in political giving, for the first 18 days of October, has not been this pronounced in the final stages of a campaign since 1994, when Republicans swept control of the House for the first time in four decades.
Big business usually has a good idea what their customers want. It is looking like the Republicans will need all the help they can get from Diebold to stay in DC and out of jail next year.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Vote Vets has a new ad

Go see it here and then give them some help to get it on the air.

Big Dick loves torture

No doubt it gives him the necessary jolt he needs when his pacemaker just isn't enough.
Vice President Dick Cheney has confirmed that U.S. interrogators subjected captured senior al Qaeda suspects to a controversial interrogation technique called ''water-boarding,'' which creates a sensation of drowning.

Cheney indicated that the Bush administration doesn't regard water-boarding as torture and allows the CIA to use it. ''It's a no-brainer for me,'' Cheney said at one point in an interview.
We all knew he had no heart, now we know he has no brain either. Will this change the scientific concept of a "black hole"?

You don't mess with Mother Nature

Or Patrick Fitzgerald. The first witness in Irv "Scooter" Libby's trial took the stand today and it was not fun for her or good for the ol' Scoot.
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald took on the first witness in the CIA leak case Thursday, dissecting an expert witness until she acknowledged errors and misstatements in her research.
This could be a fun trial to keep an eye on.

Rummy gets a little testy

Perhaps he should wait until after the press conference to start nipping.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told reporters today to "just back off" and "relax" instead of looking for differences between U.S. and Iraqi officials on benchmarks for progress in Iraq toward political and security goals, and he rejected the idea of penalizing any failure to hit the targets.

In a Pentagon news conference, Rumsfeld sparred repeatedly with questioners over reported discord between U.S. officials and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on a timeline for Iraqi security forces to assume more responsibilities from U.S. troops. Rumsfeld disputed a characterization of Iraqi forces as chronically failing to meet benchmarks, saying this assertion was "flat wrong" and that the Iraqis have "done a darn good job."
Is one "darn good" equal to one "heckuva"?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tom Toles Tuesday

The Worst Congress Ever!

That is the title of the latest Matt Taibbi effort in Rolling Stone. Some might say that judgement is debatable, but you would have a hard time defending any group that you can describe this way.
These were the years when the U.S. parliament became a historical punch line, a political obscenity on par with the court of Nero or Caligula -- a stable of thieves and perverts who committed crimes rolling out of bed in the morning and did their very best to turn the mighty American empire into a debt-laden, despotic backwater, a Burkina Faso with cable.
But they have achieved one goal.
They aimed far lower than any other Congress has ever aimed, and they nailed their target.
Read the whole piece and see if you can find your Moop in it.

Your tax dollars at work

Well not actually yours as most of the money was borrowed, it is really your kids and grandkids who will be taxed to pay for this. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has issued a report that gives some insight into where the $18+ Billion dollars appropriated for reconstruction actually went, and it's not pretty.
A federal oversight agency said today that the cost of things like housing employees, processing paperwork and providing security has consumed as much as 55 percent of the entire budget for some reconstruction projects in Iraq, vastly reducing the amount of money available for actual construction.

In fact, according to a report by the agency, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, those administrative and overhead costs, as they are known, may be claiming an even larger share of the money — but the government does not keep proper track of how the $18.4 billion of American taxpayer-financed reconstruction money approved by Congress two years ago is being spent.
In a private project, the money trail would be under close scrutiny by the owner to keep a handle on expenses, so why was our money treated so cavalierly? Perhaps the answer lies here:
The highest overhead costs were found in the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of contracts awarded to KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary formerly known as Kellogg, Brown and Root, for the reconstruction of oil facilities in Iraq.

The report did not explain why KBR’s overhead costs under those contracts were more than 10 percentage points greater than any other contractor that was audited.
I guess it is true when they say that KBR is the best. We just didn't know what they were best at doing.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Visuals for today

Why you should vote Nov 7

No matter where you live and whatever the chances of your Democrat winning. As Digby says so well:
The last five years have been a colossal national security failure and the only thing that will change it is if the American people make it clear to the world that they don't support it --- by electing new leadership. We must do it this November and we must do it in November two years from now.

"These are the stakes. Vote November 7."
It is your chance to stand up and be counted.

Are you for America or the Republicans?

Blowing in the Wind

The New York Times | Editorial

Sunday 22 October 2006

The generals who told President Bush before the war that Donald Rumsfeld's shock-and-awe fantasy would not work were not enough to persuade him to change his strategy in Iraq. The rise of the insurgency did not do the trick. Nor did month after month of mounting military and civilian casualties on all sides, the emergence of a near civil war, the collapse of reconstruction efforts or the seeming inability of either Iraqi or American forces to secure contested parts of Iraq, including Baghdad, for any significant period.

So what finally, after all this time, caused Mr. Bush to very publicly consult with his generals to consider a change in tactics in Iraq? The president, who says he never reads political polls, is worried that his party could lose some of its iron grip on power in the Congressional elections next month.

It is not necessarily a bad thing when a politician takes stock of his positions in the teeth of an election. Our elected leaders are expected to heed the will of the American people. And this page has been part of a chorus of pleas for Mr. Bush to come up with a more realistic approach to Iraq.

But the way this sudden change of heart has come about, after months in which Mr. Bush has brushed off all criticism of his policies as either misguided, politically motivated or downright disloyal to America, is maddening. For far too long, the White House has looked upon the war as a tactical puzzle for campaign strategists. The early notion of combining Iraq and the war on terror as an argument for re-electing Republicans robbed the nation of any serious chance for a bipartisan discussion of these life-and-death issues. More recently, the administration seems to have been working under the assumption that its only obligations were to hang on, talk tough and pass the problem on to the next president.

The Iraqi government, which has had a hard time adopting most aspects of American democracy, seems to have eagerly embraced this administration's lessons on how to deny politically unpleasant realities. Just the other day, The Times reported that the Pentagon had decided there was nothing wrong with a program in which phony "positive news" was planted in Iraqi newspapers. And news reports said that the Iraqi government had decided to stop reporting civilian casualties to the United Nations so there would be no record of the war's increasing toll on ordinary Iraqis.

The way the Bush team is stage-managing the president's supposed change of heart about "staying the course" is unfair to the Americans who have taken him at his word that real progress is being made in Iraq - a dwindling but still significant number of people, some of whom have sons and daughters serving in the conflict. It is a disservice to the troops, who were never sent to Iraq in sufficient numbers to protect themselves or the Iraqi people. And it is a disservice to all Americans, who have waited so long for Mr. Bush to act that all that is left are a series of unpleasant choices.

And it is happening in the midst of a particularly ugly, and especially vacuous, election season. There is probably no worse time to begin a serious discussion about Iraq policy than two weeks before a close, bitter election. But now that the discussion has begun, it must continue, as honestly and openly as possible. It is time for the American people to confront all the things that the president never had the guts to tell them about for three and a half years.

The Ultimate Desperate Republican

And that would be Our Dear Embattled Leader himself. After repeating his signature strategery phrase, Stay The Course, for more than two years, he denies it on television to George Stephanopoulos. Remember these choice examples?
BUSH: We will stay the course. [8/30/06]

BUSH: We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq. [8/4/05]

BUSH: We will stay the course until the job is done, Steve. And the temptation is to try to get the President or somebody to put a timetable on the definition of getting the job done. We’re just going to stay the course. [12/15/03]

BUSH: And my message today to those in Iraq is: We’ll stay the course. [4/13/04]

BUSH: And that’s why we’re going to stay the course in Iraq. And that’s why when we say something in Iraq, we’re going to do it. [4/16/04]

BUSH: And so we’ve got tough action in Iraq. But we will stay the course. [4/5/04]
Compare those choice remarks from the White House's own transcripts to his remarks today.
STEPHANOPOULOS: James Baker says that he’s looking for something between “cut and run” and “stay the course.”

BUSH: Well, hey, listen, we’ve never been “stay the course,” George. We have been — we will complete the mission, we will do our job, and help achieve the goal, but we’re constantly adjusting to tactics. Constantly.
2788 US troops dead for this lying sack of shit! And more to die because he has no idea what he is doing, in DC or in Iraq.

Alberto Fernandez was right when he said, "I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq". And most of it was in Washington DC, when it wasn't in Crawford TX.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The George W Bush Preznitential Liberry

No doubt Robert Kuttner formed his vision of the next presidential library with satire and sarcasm as his intent. Somehow it seems all too real.
Such libraries typically begin with the early career -- in this case The Foggy Years, the heroic service in the Air National Guard, and the falling upward economically. A gallery could commemorate all the Texas businessmen who helped young George turn business blunders into windfalls.

This would lead into an exhibit on Governor Bush, the Uniter not the Divider, his collaboration with Texas Democrats, and the unity theme in the 2000 presidential campaign. From there, you'd go directly into the Hammer Room, and observe Tom DeLay excluding Democrats from the legislative process in Congress.

The next salon would be the Rogues Gallery, featuring each of the several congressional scoundrels of the Bush era -- DeLay being forced to step down as Republican House leader, the hapless Representative Bob Ney pleading guilty but refusing to give up his seat, Representative Randy Cunningham devising convoluted scams that led to prison time, as well as an elaborate interactive diagram on the multiple connections with corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff. A nearby exhibit would commemorate corporate felons close to Bush, beginning with Enron officers.
He does leave out the snack bar serving the Kool-Aid but it is still in the design stage.

First Our Dear Embattled Leader, now God loves Rummy

From the AFP:
The top US general defended the leadership of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying it is inspired by God.

"He leads in a way that the good Lord tells him is best for our country," said Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Sounds like someone has been punishing the communion wine a little too hard.

Dick Armitage, a Cut and Walk Don't Run-er

Having been among those who called for going into Iraq, Richard Armitage is now calling for an about face and leaving Iraq, couched in the necessary qualifications to deflect the Bushovik hordes criticism.
A former top Bush administration official called Wednesday night for a notify-and-walk exit from Iraq in a move that would fall somewhere between cut-and-run and stay-the-course.

Richard L. Armitage, deputy secretary of state from 2001 to 2005, advocated an incremental reduction of U.S. troops while Iraq's fledgling democracy struggles to overcome sectarian violence.

"We notify the Iraqis that we're going to be drawing down a reasonable but careful percentage of our troops over a reasonable interval of months -- just for example, 5 percent of troops every three months," Armitage told a crowd of 850 at DeSales University.

"This will show seriousness of purpose, I think. It will give our population some hope and enthusiasm that this is not a never-ending affair. And also it will put the heat on the Iraqis, because ladies and gentlemen, we can't win this militarily. By the way, we can't lose this militarily."
That last sentence should be qualified by "if we leave soon enough". In Iraq, we are the pencil and Iraq is the pencil sharpener, constantly chewing us down to the end. If something isn't done, the end may resemble the Brits at Gandamack.

The National Security football

Or soccer ball since it is seldom carried and usually kicked from pillar to post by the Republicans. This time they are using it as a weapon against Democrats for what the Republicans say is the Democrats efforts to keep the American public informed of the failures being perpetrated in their name.
The senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee yesterday sharply protested the chairman’s decision to suspend a Democratic staff member’s access to classified information in a leak inquiry.

The congresswoman, Jane Harman of California, called the action a groundless act of political retaliation.

Ms. Harman’s complaint to the chairman, Representative Peter Hoekstra, Republican of Michigan, involved his internal investigation of the possible source of an article on Sept. 24 in The New York Times about a National Intelligence Estimate saying the Iraq war had become a cause célèbre for terrorists.

Ms. Harman said she was appalled by Mr. Hoekstra’s move against the staff member, Larry Hanauer.

“There is no evidence to suggest that the professional staff member in question did anything wrong,” she said in a statement.

Ms. Harman said Mr. Hoekstra had admitted to her that his action against Mr. Hanauer was payback for her release on Tuesday of a report on actions by former Representative Randy Cunningham while he was on the Intelligence Committee. Mr. Cunningham, a California Republican, is serving an eight-year prison sentence for taking bribes.

“If you have a problem with me, why not deal with me directly?” Ms. Harman asked Mr. Hoekstra in a letter sent on Wednesday.

In his response sent yesterday, Mr. Hoekstra said he felt obliged to investigate the question. “This is an issue of national security,” he wrote, inviting Ms. Harman to help decide how to conduct the inquiry.
Just like TurdBlossom was restricted from classified information when he was under investigation. And if you respond that Turd was not restricted then you understand what it means when we say, It's OK If You Are Republican.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Our Dear Embattled Leader supports our troops

But their families are another story altogether. And it is not a pretty story.The San Diego Union-Tribune has that story.
The women and children who formed a line at Camp Pendleton last week could have been waiting for a child-care center to open or Disney on Ice tickets to go on sale.

Instead, they were waiting for day-old bread and frozen dinners packaged in slightly damaged boxes. These families are among a growing number of military households in San Diego County that regularly rely on donated food.

As the Iraq war marches toward its fourth anniversary, food lines operated by churches and other nonprofit groups are an increasingly valuable presence on military bases countywide. Leaders of the charitable groups say they're scrambling to fill a need not seen since World War II.

Too often, the supplies run out before the lines do, said Regina Hunter, who coordinates food distribution at one Camp Pendleton site.

“Here they are defending the country. . . . It is heartbreaking to see,”
Anyone wishing to do what Republicans don't do can use this.
Ways to help

People interested in donating food, furniture or money to help military families in San Diego County can call:

Military Outreach Ministry at Camp Pendleton: (760) 908-7043

Military Outreach Ministries at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station: (619) 843-8964

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Our Dear Embattled Leader's Finest Moment

Well, isn't this special?

From CNN:
Awaiting the recommendations of a commission exploring U.S. options in Iraq, the White House on Thursday emphatically ruled out some proposals to end the long and unpopular war.
It would appear that Our Dear Embattled Leader is not yet satisfied with the number of troop casualties.

Trandahl warned the Office of the Speaker back in 2003

CNN has the story on testimony given to the Hose Ethics committee investigating Foley's Folly. And the bad news for Fat Denny was that the Clerk of the House was concerned about Foleys chickenhawking well before Rep. Alexander contacted our fat friend.
Steve Gunderson is a friend of former House Clerk Jeff Trandahl, who testified for almost four hours Thursday morning before the ethics subcommittee investigating the Foley scandal.

"The second he got any kind of report of questionable conduct, he would report it to the appropriate people," Gunderson said of Trandahl. "Jeff saw his role as protecting the pages ... and making sure that the pages, as well as members of Congress, followed the code of conduct to the T."

Trandahl repeatedly raised red flags about Foley years before GOP leaders said they knew about Foley's inappropriate conduct with pages, sources said.
This scandal will keep on giving and giving. ANd it is probably the cause of the 16% approval that the Republican controlled Congress received in a recent poll.

EXTRA Watch Rep. Sue Kelly R-NY19 run away from the press to avoid questions about Foley's Folly. Kelly was chairwoman on the Page Board in 1999 and 2000.

Does your Congressmoop REALLY support the troops?

Just in time for the election, The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America have a searchable database of the Members with their IAVA grade and the votes that earned them the grade. A good chance to find out if your Moop thinks that car magnets on his SUV are all he needs to do.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

River has posted again

After a very long time. Her current post looks at the Lancet report that estimated the number of Iraqi deaths since the beginning of Our Dear Embattled Leader's Glorious Little War.
The latest horror is the study published in the Lancet Journal concluding that over 600,000 Iraqis have been killed since the war. Reading about it left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it sounded like a reasonable figure. It wasn't at all surprising. On the other hand, I so wanted it to be wrong. But... who to believe? Who to believe....? American politicians... or highly reputable scientists using a reliable scientific survey technique?...

....We literally do not know a single Iraqi family that has not seen the violent death of a first or second-degree relative these last three years. Abductions, militias, sectarian violence, revenge killings, assassinations, car-bombs, suicide bombers, American military strikes, Iraqi military raids, death squads, extremists, armed robberies, executions, detentions, secret prisons, torture, mysterious weapons – with so many different ways to die, is the number so far fetched?
But what does she know, she is only a woman in Iraq. The Big Dick himself has told us that Iraq is "Going Remarkably Well".

They don't know Shit from Shinola.

And "they" are that the people that are supposed to protect us from the evil doers. Confused? Then read the article in the NY Times that starts out like this.
FOR the past several months, I’ve been wrapping up lengthy interviews with Washington counterterrorism officials with a fundamental question: “Do you know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?”

A “gotcha” question? Perhaps. But if knowing your enemy is the most basic rule of war, I don’t think it’s out of bounds. And as I quickly explain to my subjects, I’m not looking for theological explanations, just the basics: Who’s on what side today, and what does each want?

After all, wouldn’t British counterterrorism officials responsible for Northern Ireland know the difference between Catholics and Protestants?
And after you read it, if you still wonder what the deal is, then you must go to the ever lucid Billmon.

PS. Shinola was a popular brand of shoe polish... Think about it.

Mid Week PoliToons

Quote of the Day

"People have no idea how significant this is. Really a time of shame this is for the American system.—The strange thing is that we have become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. The Congress just gave the President despotic powers and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to Dancing With the Stars. It's otherworldly..People clearly don't realize what a fundamental change it is about who we are as a country. What happened today changed us. And I'm not too sure we're gonna change back anytime soon."
Jonathan Turley, Constitutional law expert, on Our Dear Embattled Leader's newly signed Torture Enabling Act.

Rolling Stone's Top 10 List

Of the worst Members of Congress. You can find it here. You probably know all of them already.

Or you could try to guess the Top 10 Dumbest Congressmoops.

Our Dear Embattled Leader keeps trampling out those vineyards

And another 11 good Americans died in Iraq today.
Eleven more U.S. troops were slain in combat, the military said Wednesday, putting October on track to be the deadliest month for U.S. forces since the siege of Fallujah nearly two years ago.

The military says the sharp increase in U.S. casualties - 70 so far this month - is tied to Ramadan and a security crackdown that has left American forces more vulnerable to attack in Baghdad and its suburbs. Muslim tenets hold that fighting a foreign occupation force during Islam's holy month puts a believer especially close to God.

As the death toll climbed for both U.S. forces and Iraqi civilians, who are being killed at a rate of 43 a day, the country's Shiite-dominated government remained under intense U.S. pressure to shut down Shiite militias.

Some members of the armed groups have fractured into uncontrolled, roaming death squads out for revenge against Sunni Arabs, the Muslim minority in Iraq who were politically and socially dominant until the fall of Saddam Hussein.
And how many good Republicans stayed home, safe and secure, and called for more death to satify their rotting souls?

Monday, October 16, 2006

And in Iraq today

The "good news" just keeps pouring in.
Four days of sectarian slaughter killed at least 91 people by Monday in Balad, a town near a major U.S. air base an hour's drive north of the capital. Elsewhere, 60 Iraqis died in attacks and 16 tortured bodies were found.

The U.S. command said seven American troops died in fighting a day earlier. That raised the U.S. toll to 58 killed in the first two weeks of October, a pace that if continued would make the month the worst for coalition forces since 107 U.S. and 10 British soldiers died in January 2005.

Iraqi deaths also are running at a high rate. According to an Associated Press count, 708 Iraqis have been reported killed in war-related violence this month, or just over 44 a day, compared to a daily average of more than 27 since the AP began tracking deaths in April 2005.
In the meantime, the Big Fool says to push on.

Curt Weldon looks like he might be Well Done.

And the Philadelphia Inquirer has the details of an FBI raid on the home of his daughter. Last Friday the news came out that Rep @Weldon and his daughter were under investigation for influence peddling regarding her lobbying business and his actions in Congress. As they all do, he loudly denied that any such thing was happening.
FBI agents investigating U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon (R., Pa.) conducted six raids this morning - including at the homes of his daughter and a longtime friend.

In all, agents executed four search warrants in the Philadelphia area and two in Jacksonville, Fla., officials said.

In Center City, agents searched the law office of John Gallagher, a Weldon friend who has conducted extensive business in Russia and former Soviet Republics.

In Media, agents searched the offices of the public relations firm formed by Weldon's longtime friend Charles P. Sexton Jr., and the congressman's daughter, Karen.

Sexton and Karen Weldon formed Solutions North America in 2002, and won $1 million in contracts from two Russian energy firms and a Serbian family with ties to Slobodan Milosevic.

FBI agents in Jacksonville, Fla., raided the office of one of the Russian energy firms, Itera, and a private residence whose connection to the investigation was not disclosed.
All the people alleged to be involved with the scandal. This close to the election, the raids should pretty much stick a fork in Curt Well Done.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Kenny The Queen of the RNC has dirty hands

Kind of greasy actually, and most of the grease came from our old friend Jack Abramoff. The LA Times has pieced the story together from the e-mails recently released in the report of the House Government Reform Committee.
For five years, Allen Stayman wondered who ordered his removal from a State Department job negotiating agreements with tiny Pacific island nations — even when his own bosses wanted him to stay.

Now he knows.

Newly disclosed e-mails suggest that the ax fell after intervention by one of the highest officials at the White House: Ken Mehlman, on behalf of one of the most influential lobbyists in town, Jack Abramoff.

The e-mails show that Abramoff, whose client list included the Northern Mariana Islands, had long opposed Stayman's work advocating labor changes in that U.S. commonwealth, and considered what his lobbying team called the "Stayman project" a high priority.

"Mehlman said he would get him fired," an Abramoff associate wrote after meeting with Mehlman, who was then White House political director.
And this is just one of the many favors The Queen did for the Jack. And yet when first asked about the Jack, the Queen blushed and turned her head, saying she hardly knew who he was. Fine talk from someone who was in bed with him for so long.

Quote of the Day

Democrats are fighting a war on two fronts: One is combating the spin and intimidation that defines this administration. The other is fighting to change course, to do things better, to substitute smart, disciplined strategy for dogma and denial in Iraq.

That's not defeatism. That's our duty.
Rep John Murtha D-PA

Keeping you safe because we say so

This is just plain wrong. The SuperMax prison is designed to hold the worst of the worst in the prison systems. And like everything else the Bushoviks touch, they want to run it on the cheap.
Staffing at the Supermax prison has fallen so low that job hazards have increased for correctional officers watching over the nation’s worst terrorists, an arbitrator has ruled.

The arbitrator stopped short of ordering the Bureau of Prisons to hire more staff, but union officials representing Supermax officers said the ruling would bolster their argument to Congress for more prison funding.

“If the most maximum security federal penitentiary is indeed understaffed, what is happening across the entire Bureau of Prisons as far as staffing levels?” asked state Rep. Buffie McFadyen, who testified for the union at an arbitration hearing in May. Her district includes Supermax and 11 other state and federal prisons.
Hell, the war in Iraq and Katrina rebuilding and even air traffic control are being done on the cheap, why not prisons. Which is not to say that a lot of money doesn't get appropriated, it just doesn't end up where they said it would.

Just a little OT, but with 12 prisons in her district Buffie sure does represent a fun place.

My Inner Python

What Monty Python Character are you?

French Guard I'm French! Why do think I have this outrageous accent, you silly king-a?!>
Take this quiz!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Frank Rich examines the Republican Party and their gays.

And has a gay old time comparing the hypocrisy with the reality.
The split between the Republicans’ outward homophobia and inner gayness isn’t just hypocrisy; it’s pathology. Take the bizarre case of Karl Rove. Every one of his Bush campaigns has been marked by a dirty dealing of the gay card, dating back to the lesbian whispers that pursued Ann Richards when Mr. Bush ousted her as Texas governor in 1994. Yet we now learn from “The Architect,” the recent book by the Texas journalists James Moore and Wayne Slater, that Mr. Rove’s own (and beloved) adoptive father, Louis Rove, was openly gay in the years before his death in 2004. This will be a future case study for psychiatric clinicians as well as historians.
And on and on he goes from there.

What a sad group these Republicans are.

And we still don't know the real reason why we went to war.

After all the lives that have been lost, the billions of dollars squandered or stolen and Our Dear Embattled Leader still needs to invent new reasons for his Glorious Little War. Even the AP has noticed his multiple rationalizations.
President Bush keeps revising his explanation for why the U.S. is in Iraq, moving from narrow military objectives at first to history-of-civilization stakes now.

Initially, the rationale was specific: to stop Saddam Hussein from using what Bush claimed were the Iraqi leader's weapons of mass destruction or from selling them to al-Qaida or other terrorist groups....

....When no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, Bush shifted his war justification to one of liberating Iraqis from a brutal ruler.

After Saddam's capture in December 2003, the rationale became helping to spread democracy through the Middle East. Then it was confronting terrorists in Iraq "so we do not have to face them here at home," and "making America safer," themes Bush pounds today.

"We're in the ideological struggle of the 21st century," he told a California audience this month. "It's a struggle between good and evil."

Vice President Dick Cheney takes it even further: "The hopes of the civilized world ride with us," Cheney tells audiences.
If the hopes of the civilized world are riding with ODEL and the Big Dick, we don't have to worry about going to hell, we need to find a way back out.

Our Dear Embattled Leader does not plan for tomorrow - again.

And it has the Republican strategists worried about what will follow the election.
"They aren't even planning for if they lose," says a GOP insider who informally counsels the West Wing. If Democrats win control of the House, as many analysts expect, Republicans predict that Bush's final two years in office will be marked by multiple congressional investigations and gridlock.

"The Bush White House has had no relationship with Congress," said a Bush ally. "Beyond the Democrats, wait till they see how the Republicans–the ones that survive–treat them if they lose next month." GOP insiders are upset by Bush's seeming inability to come up with new ideas or fresh approaches. There is even a heightened sensitivity to the way Bush talks about advisers who served his father.
Just like with Al-qaeda, Iraq, North Korea and anything else this bunch lay their mighty intellects to. Fecklessness works just fine for drunken frat boys and poor little drug addled rich kids but this country needs much more that that in its Dear Leader.

Republican campaign strategy

From the hands of Lukovitch and Wilkinson:

Our Dear Embattled Leader continues to tout his failures

Talking about his failures as if they were successes is bad enough, but ODEL then follows up with a call to future action based on his fantasy foreign policy as a remedy. If at first you don't succeed, try the same thing over and over again. We are lucky that there are people in the real world who understand that this is NOT a recipe for success.
Critics of Bush's foreign policy say the apparent nuclear test is evidence that the administration's approach to North Korea has failed. Democrats say that since Bush became president, both North Korea and Iran have bolstered their nuclear weapons capabilities.

"Under President Bush and this Republican Congress' watch, our country has become less safe -- both domestically and abroad," said Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Pa. "We have seen the number of terrorist attacks increase around the world. We have seen North Korea and Iran -- two members of the president's axis of evil -- enhance their nuclear weapons capabilities."
Sounds like a good reason to throw the bums out.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tom Toles Today

Karl Rove pressured Foley to run again.

The story about Mark Foley being ready to retire from Congress is public knowledge. Up to now most people thought it was because Foley was an "earner" who brought in wads of cash. The latest from The New Republic suggests that Karl Rove and the White House gang were desperate to keep safe Republican seats as early as last spring. As an unknown friend of Fley explains it:
Foley said he was being pressured by "the White House and Rove gang," who insisted that Foley run. If he didn't, Foley was told, it might impact his lobbying career.

"He said, 'The White House made it very clear I have to run,'" explains Foley's friend, adding that Foley told him that the White House promised that if Foley served for two more years it would "enhance his success" as a lobbyist. "I said, 'I thought you wanted out of this?' And he said, 'I do, but they're scared of losing the House and the thought of two years of Congressional hearings, so I have two more years of duty.'"
No wonder Our Dear Embattled Leader was so steamed about La Cage Au Foley, TurdBlossom is not supposed to screw up this badly.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Our Dear Embattled Leader said no troops will come home on his watch.

And now we find out that the US Army is making plans to be in Iraq until 2010.

How many times do you have to be told.

An open letter to Our Dear Embattled leader

Dear President Bush,

I write to you in my capacity as secretary of the World League of Despots.

It is with great pleasure that I am finally able to extend an official invitation to you to join our ranks. For many years, we have watched your efforts to fulfil the requirements necessary to join our number. From the start, we were greatly impressed by your disdain for democratic principles - the way you wrested power from the democratically elected candidate in the 2000 election, and again in 2005 when you managed to swing what was clearly going to be a victory for your opponent.

Contempt for human life has always been a priority requirement for membership of the league, and I and my fellow adjudicators were well aware of your record as governor of Texas when you quadrupled the number of state executions. But your record since seizing power has surpassed even our expectations. The thousands of innocent people in Iraq, who have died so that you could fulfil your declared political objective of establishing "an American force presence in the Middle East", attest to your eligibility to join our ranks.

I cannot, however, disguise the fact that we adjudicators were extremely anxious when you announced your intention to remove from office one of our most stalwart members, Mr Saddam Hussein. However, we need not have worried. According to a recent UN report, you have ensured that there are now even more human rights abuses in Iraq than there were under Saddam. No less than 10% of those in custody are being physically or psychologically abused. Well done!

Of course, your unstinting efforts to make torture an internationally accepted aspect of human life have surpassed everything we could have ever hoped for. I don't think there is a single member of the league who could have imagined, six short years ago, that our activities in tormenting our fellow creatures would once again be recognised as acceptable, civilised behaviour, as it once was in the middle ages.

Despite these achievements, we had, until now, felt unable to extend our invitation to you because you had been unable to fulfil one of our basic requirements: the ability to carry out arbitrary arrests, imprisonment without trial, secret torture and executions at will.

We approved of your attempts to establish the principles of arbitrary arrest under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, but unfortunately it was still restricted to terror suspects. We appreciate that you were hampered by the US constitution, but the restrictions this imposed on your arbitrary powers kept you below the threshold requirements for qualification as a despot.

Now, however, all that has changed. At the end of last month you persuaded the Senate to pass a bill regarding the treatment of detainees. Illegally obtained evidence can now be used against suspects, even if it has been gathered abroad under torture. Anyone you care to accuse can be thrown into prison without the right to a trial or the right to represent themselves.

Officially the legislation is restricted to "enemy combatants", but you have skilfully adapted this definition to include anyone who has "purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the US". This presumably means that anyone who publicly criticises your conduct can be defined as supporting hostilities to the US. You are now free to arrest and imprison anyone you don't like. You've got it in the bag!

It is with great pleasure that we in the World League of Despots note that you have now appropriated to yourself all the powers of arbitrary arrest and torture that Saddam once enjoyed. You are now one of us. Congratulations!

Terry Jones

Terry Jones is a film director, actor and Python www.terry-jones.net

PS: Here is a taste of what ODEL can do to you.

Quote of the Day

From Froomkin:
"[Attorney General Alberto] Gonzales advised Bush that one panelist said metal detectors send 'the wrong message about what we think of our kids.'

"'I happen to agree,' Bush said. 'But what do I know?'

"'Yes, sir,' Gonzales replied, drawing chuckles from those in the crowd who thought he was agreeing with the 'what do I know' quip."
For those who may not be familiar with early to mid 20th century comedy schtick, the bumbling stooge who makes the mean boss look bad by agreeing with him at the inappropriate time was a staple bit of theater and film comedy. The good part was that, in the end, the mean boss (or Decider) was foiled and everyone lived happily ever after.

Such are dreams made of.

McCain bails on Reynolds

In a not very surprising move, staunch Republican campaigner John McCain has bailed out on a speaking gig at a Reynolds dinner and rally in Buffalo.
McCain, who weeks ago had promised to speak Oct. 20, backed out sometime between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning. The call conveying McCain's regrets came to Reynolds, who was counting on McCain to showcase his influence in the capital.

It took Reynolds' re-election team by surprise. Reynolds' spokesman Lawrence D. Platt told reporters Monday that McCain would be coming to the dinner and the re-election rally.

Though McCain changed his schedule two days after a Buffalo News-commissioned Zogby poll showed Reynolds trailing in his race with his Democratic opponent, Jack Davis of Clarence, by 15 points, McCain's office said the senator is still a strong Reynolds supporter.
Well, it may have been a surprise to the Reynolds folks but I guess they just forgot that John is running for preznit and doesn't want to get any dirt on his shiny image.

In his place, the Reynolds campaign got a hardcore Republican who doesn't worry about his re-election, Karl "TurdBlossom" Rove. Now that should impress the denizens of the Burned Over District. Can you say Susan Ralston?

Jimmy Carter explains,

In a careful and easy to understand fashion, just what is going on in Korea. In fact it is so easy to understand, that you will probably have one of those forehead slapping moments when your done. As opposed to wanting to have a bitch slapping moment with Our Dear Embattled Leader. Unfortunately Our Dear Embattled Leader is the current Decider so I urge everyone to remember that simple lesson; Duck and Cover!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tom Toles Today

Monday, October 09, 2006

Rick "Man On Dog" Santorum criticizes Our Dear Embattled Leader

Said fair young Ricky today.
"North Korea's actions cause great concern. This is no time for inexperienced, weak leaders."
What a shocking thing to say about his preznit.

Just what does a Chief of Staff do?

Douglas Turner, writing in the Buffalo News answers that question. And he does so in a manner that leaves little of no room for evasion for the Republican leadership in the House.
A chief of staff knows everything that goes on in a congressional office. He or she sees any mail of importance; knows of all the travels and appointments of the member; and handles all the money, even paying relatives' gasoline bills.

The chief of staff buys the Blackberries, cell phones and all the other electronic gear, and can access any of that traffic.

And yet Fordham never knew any of this from 1995 until he squealed on Foley to aides of House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., eight years later?

About a year ago, Fordham became the congressional chief of staff for Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, R-Clarence, head of the GOP House campaign effort. Last week, as everybody knows, Fordham resigned and is now talking to the FBI in private and to the public through his lawyer.
He will be a fount of information, the big question is when will we learn all the details?

Quote of the Day

"He's ticked off big-time, even if what they said was the truth."
A well-informed source, describing Our Dear Embattled Leader's anger at those who talked to Bob Woodward

The Spirit of the Republicans

Over at Eschaton, Atrios has two consecutive posts that together say more about what really matters to the GOP. First is a post on the latest casualties in Iraq.
The military on Sunday announced the deaths of five more American troops. Three Marines died on Friday “from enemy action” in Anbar province in western Iraq. Two soldiers were killed on Saturday, one in Mosul by a roadside bomb and the other in Baghdad by small arms fire.
And right above it is this lovely revelation from Joe Biden.
"Two leading Republican Senators have come to me," Biden recalled, and said that after the election "the need to protect the president will be nonexistent" and Republicans will be freer to break with the White House and call for change in Iraq.
How many must die to protect the lie?

Did North Korea blow a nuke or just blow it?

The details are coming in and it looks like the North Korean nuclear test was a fizzle.
A successful nuclear test would be expected to have the same force as between 10 and 60 kilotons of high explosives. This one may have been less than one kiloton.
This does not mean that they don't have the materials to try again not can we expect them to not learn from their mistakes. What it does mean is that there is time to create a complete and effective diplomatic effort to put a lid on the North Korean problem. When The Original Dear Leader on Pyongyang pisses of his best friends, China & Russia, the window is there for something more than the usual Bushovik bluff and bluster, which TODL just called.
The Bush administration on Monday proposed an arms embargo and a series of legally binding U.N. financial and trade sanctions to punish North Korea for apparently detonating a nuclear device, and it called for international inspections of all trade coming into and out of the secretive country to enforce them....

....Britain and France voiced support for sanctions on North Korea, but stopped short of endorsing the U.S.-backed proposal. China, meanwhile, cautioned that the 15-nation body pursue only diplomatic means to persuade North Korea to halt its nuclear activities.

China's U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, said Beijing is opposed to the North Korean test and that it is ready to discuss "how the Security Council could react firmly, constructively and prudently with regard to this challenge."

But he declined to say whether Beijing would support a sanctions resolution. "I think we have to react firmly, but also I believe that, on the other hand, that the door to solve this issue from diplomatic point of view is still open."

Russia's initial reaction was somewhat ambiguous. While Vitaly Churkin, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, condemned North Korea for conducting the test, he stopped short of calling for sanctions, saying only that North Korea would "face a very serious attitude" within the council.
Any multinational response will have to include Russia and China. The only other workable option is bi-lateral talks between the US and NK. Sadly, Our Dear Embattled Leader thinks that two way talks are a sign of weakness and the Cheneyites would rather start a war (mm-m-m War!) than talk to a bunch of garlic eaters. And so we are stuck with a useless Bushovik foreign fantasy (can't call it a policy) that, like some childs toy with new batteries, keeps running around the room bouncing off walls and obstacles with no logical pattern.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Gas prices to decline until the election

That is the word from the Lundberg Survey and they know the business very well.
Gas prices declined an average of nearly 15 cents a gallon in the last two weeks, but are expected to begin rising as the winter approaches, the publisher of the national Lundberg Survey said Sunday.
OK, so it said "as the winter approaches". When do you think Election Day is?

Rep. Kolbe knew about Foley in 2000

According to the WaPo, Kolbe was told of another set of e-mails by a former page because they made him uncomfortable.
A Republican congressman knew of disgraced former representative Mark Foley's inappropriate Internet exchanges as far back as 2000 and personally confronted Foley about his communications.

A spokeswoman for Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) confirmed yesterday that a former page showed the congressman Internet messages that had made the youth feel uncomfortable with the direction Foley (R-Fla.) was taking their e-mail relationship. Last week, when the Foley matter erupted, a Kolbe staff member suggested to the former page that he take the matter to the clerk of the House, Karen Haas, said Kolbe's press secretary, Korenna Cline.
This story needs more details. I mean, here we have something that brings a confrontation between Members but the Clerk of the House isn't told until the poop hits the propeller six years later. Did Kolbe talk to any one? Did he keep an eye on his friend Foley? And then the article drops this confusing piece of information.
A source with direct knowledge of Kolbe's involvement said the messages shared with Kolbe were sexually explicit, and he read the contents to The Washington Post under the condition that they not be reprinted. But Cline denied the source's characterization, saying only that the messages had made the former page feel uncomfortable. Nevertheless, she said, "corrective action" was taken. Cline said she has not yet determined whether that action went beyond Kolbe's confrontation with Foley.
So the reporter has heard the contents of the e-mails but neither confirms or contests the "friendly" chacterization by Kolbe's press aide. It is one thing to not reprint or reveal the contents. It is "he said, she said" journalism of the worst sort to let the two opposite views just sit there staring at each other. And was the "corrective action" more than a confrontation that had little effect, as we have seen?

This latest revelation really does raise a lot more questions than it answers. Hopefully they will be answered soon.

Time runs the Republicans obituary

And the eulogy does not speak well of the dead. Which is no more than they deserve.
Every revolution begins with the power of an idea and ends when clinging to power is the only idea left. The epitaph for the movement that started when Newt Gingrich and his forces rose from the back bench of the House chamber in 1994 may well have been written last week in the same medium that incubated it: talk radio. On conservative commentator Laura Ingraham's show, the longest-serving Republican House Speaker in history explained why he would not resign despite a sex scandal that has produced a hail of questions about his leadership and the failure to stop one of his members from cyberstalking teenage congressional pages. "If I fold up my tent and leave," Dennis Hastert told her, "then where does that leave us? If the Democrats sweep, then we'd have no ability to fight back and get our message out."

That quiet admission may have been the most damning one yet in the unfolding scandal surrounding Florida Congressman Mark Foley: holding on to power has become not just the means but also the end for the onetime reformers who in 1994 unseated a calcified and corrupted Democratic majority. Washington scandals, it seems, have been following a Moore's law of their own, coming at a faster clip every time there is a shift in control. It took 40 years for the House Democrats to exhaust their goodwill. It may take only 12 years for the Republicans to get there.
And, bless those folks at Time, they have a wonderful portrait of Fat Denny on the cover.

Our Dear Embattled Leader sure is tough on terrists

Except when they blow up people he doesn't like. Such is the case with Luis Posada Carriles.
Thirty years ago, long before liquids and gels were restricted on airliners, a tube of Colgate toothpaste may have brought a plane down from the sky.

Cubana Airlines Flight 455 crashed off the coast of Barbados on Oct. 6, 1976, killing all 73 people aboard. Plastic explosives stuffed into a toothpaste tube ignited the plane, according to recently declassified police records.

Implicated in the attack, but never convicted, was Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban exile who has long sought to topple the government of Fidel Castro.

Today, Mr. Posada, 78, is in a detention center in El Paso, held on an immigration violation while the government tries to figure out what to do with him. His case presents a quandary for the Bush administration, at least in part because Mr. Posada is a former C.I.A. operative and United States Army officer who directed his wrath at a government that Washington has long opposed.
So if you are the driver for Osama you get thrown into Gitmo for eternity where the guards may do with you as the Preznit wishes. If you blow up a Cuban airliner, well we might have to let you go because we only charged you with an immigration violation.

Of course, if Our Dear Embattled Leader were to throw him onto Gitmo, as he now has the power to do, then no one would have to worry about him spilling any CIA secrets and he could die on Cuban soil, sort of. Sounds like a plan to me.

A change of course?

The NY Times has a report on the bi-partisan commission on Iraq being led by James Baker. It seems that they might actually suggest some ideas that could work.

In an interview on the ABC News program “This Week,” Mr. Baker said, “I think it’s fair to say our commission believes that there are alternatives between the stated alternatives, the ones that are out there in the political debate, of ‘stay the course’ and ‘cut and run.’ ”

Mr. Baker, who served Mr. Bush’s father as secretary of state and White House chief of staff, did explicitly reject a rapid withdrawal from Iraq, which he said would only invite Iran, Syria and “even our friends in the gulf” to fill the power vacuum.

While heading the commission, Mr. Baker has been talking to President Bush regularly and is unlikely to issue suggestions that the president has not tacitly approved. The independent panel was requested by Congress. Today, he was asked about statements last week by the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, who said Iraq was “drifting sideways” and urged consideration of a “change of course” if the Iraqi government cannot restore order in two or three months.

Asked if he agreed with that timetable, Mr. Baker said: “Yes, absolutely. And we’re taking a look at other alternatives.”

Sounds good leading up to the election. But you know this bird won't fly. It is a direct threat to Cheney and Rummy. Remember they have daily direct access to the king's ear. And in the eyes of Our Dear Embattled Leader, James Baker is tainted by association with dear old Dad. So it will look hopeful before the election and collapse totally afterwards. Because ODEL has promised never to withdraw from Iraq and he never alters his course once it is set.

Afghanistan, the new Iraq.

According to the NATO commanders in the field, That poor miserable land has only six months left.
NATO's top commander in Afghanistan warned on Sunday that a majority of Afghans would likely switch their allegiance to resurgent Taliban militants if their lives show no visible improvements in the next six months.
It sure was a mistake to put a Brit in charge. They never say what Ruumy tells them to say.

Sen Allen doesn't need any more trouble

But it seems that trouble needs him. The AP is now reporting that it has learned of several problems with his reporting of stock options.
For the past five years, Sen. George Allen, has failed to tell Congress about stock options he got for his work as a director of a high-tech company. The Virginia Republican also asked the Army to help another business that gave him similar options.

Congressional rules require senators to disclose to the Senate all deferred compensation, such as stock options. The rules also urge senators to avoid taking any official action that could benefit them financially or appear to do so....

.....An Associated Press review of Allen's financial dealings from that era found that the senator:

-Did not have to look far to find corporate suitors, joining three Virginia high-tech companies he assisted as governor. Allen served on boards of directors for Xybernaut and Commonwealth Biotechnologies and advised a third company called Com-Net Ericsson, all government contractors.

-Twice failed to promptly alert the Securities and Exchange Commission of insider stock transactions as a Xybernaut and Commonwealth director. The SEC requires timely notification and can fine those who file late.

-Kept stock options provided to him for serving as a director of Xybernaut and Commonwealth, but steered other compensation from his board service to his law firm.
And just to show that this was not a one-off problem, the AP also found this:
At least twice during his corporate service, companies told the SEC that Allen had failed to promptly file required reports on insider stock transactions.

In March 1999, Commonwealth reported to the SEC that Allen failed to "timely file" a report showing an initial statement of beneficial ownership in the company and a single acquisition of stock. The transactions were subsequently reported, it said.

In April 2000, Xybernaut told the SEC that Allen and all but one of his fellow directors failed to file statements of beneficial ownership in a timely way.
Another poor little George who can't follow SEC rules. And to think, he wanted to be president.

Your tax dollars supporting someone else's God

Thanks to the efforts of Our Dear Embattled Leader. Now we all know that ODEL plays a religious man on TV but did you know he has been using your tax dollars to buy the political support of religious people? The Boston Globe has an in-depth expose of the latest piece of Republican hoodwinkery, at your expense.
For decades, US policy has sought to avoid intermingling government programs and religious proselytizing. The aim is both to abide by the Constitution's prohibition against a state religion and to ensure that aid recipients don't forgo assistance because they don't share the religion of the provider.

Since medical programs are aimed at the most serious illnesses -- AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis -- the decision whether to seek treatment can determine life or death.

But many of those restrictions were removed by Bush in a little-noticed series of executive orders -- a policy change that cleared the way for religious groups to obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in additional government funding. It also helped change the message American aid workers bring to many corners of the world, from emphasizing religious neutrality to touting the healing powers of the Christian God.

Bush's orders altered the longstanding practice that groups preach religion in one space and run government programs in another. The administration said religious organizations can conduct services in the same space as they hand out government aid, so long as the services don't take place while the aid is being delivered. But the rule allows groups to schedule prayers immediately before or after dispensing taxpayer-funded aid.

Bush's orders also reversed longstanding rules forbidding the use of government funds to pay for employees who are required to take an oath to one religion. In addition, the president's orders allowed faith-based groups to keep religious symbols in places where they distribute taxpayer-funded aid.

And in implementing the president's orders, the administration rejected efforts to require groups to inform beneficiaries that they don't have to attend religious services to get the help they need.
Parker and Stone revealed these practices in episode 109 of South Park. Back then, they were making fun of the uses of voluntary contributions. Now the contributions are no longer voluntary and you have no say in how they is used. Welcome to a Bush New World.

Foley Fallout

Front page and above the fold, the Buffalo News has the details of their Zogby poll on the race between Faithful Tom Reynolds and his Democratic opponent Jack Davis. And the result:
Davis leads Reynolds 48 percent to 33 percent in a new Zogby International poll conducted for The Buffalo News, prompting pollster John Zogby to conclude that Davis poses a genuine threat to the longtime powerhouse from Clarence.

"There is no other way to look at these numbers except to say Tom Reynolds is in trouble," the Utica-based Zogby said.

The poll surveyed 402 likely voters in the 26th Congressional District on Wednesday and Thursday (with a margin for error of plus or minus 5 percentage points). It showed that 325 respondents were following the Foley story, with 57 percent disapproving the way Reynolds handled the situation after he found out last spring Foley had sent an e-mail that made a former page uncomfortable. And then 10 days ago, it was revealed that Foley had sent sexually explicit instant messages to other former pages.

Only 25 percent of the poll respondents said they approved of how Reynolds handled the situation.

In addition, the national attention focused on Reynolds over the past week has led many voters to consider him in a different light. Only 2 percent of those surveyed said they view the congressman more favorably since news of the scandal broke, while 50 percent said they think less favorably of him. Those whose opinion remains unchanged stand at 47 percent.

But the numbers show growing dissatisfaction with the four-term incumbent, aside from the Foley incident. Fifty-one percent of the respondents rate Reynolds' job performance as fair or poor, while 43 percent call it good or excellent.

Only 32 percent say he should be re-elected, while 58 percent believe it's time for someone new.
I hope the kids all got paid before they left Tom's press conference. This was a close race before the news of Tom's coverup came out. Now it seems that just the news so far has knocked it into a cocked hat. Now we need to see numbers like this for Fat Denny and Boehner and Shimkus.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Another fine month in Iraq

And the WaPo is there to give us the details of Our Dear Embattled Leader's improving picture in Iraq.
A survey of reports on combat deaths from August through early October, however, shows an increase in those killed in Baghdad from small-arms fire as well as bombs along roads. Dense urban terrain in the city of 6 million people, where enemy fighters have many places to hide and can attack from close quarters, reduces the advantage of the better-trained and better-equipped U.S. forces.

"September was horrific" in terms of the toll of wounded, and if the early October trend continues, this month could be "the worst month of the war," said John E. Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, a Virginia-based Web site that tracks defense issues.
But ODEL has promised us he will not bring the troops home on his watch, and he is the Decider.

And in the meantime, The Shooter is out on the fundraising trail, usually behind closed doors and security screens, telling everyone who ponies up the cash that ODEL and the Republicans are the ones to get the job done. If the job is getting US troops killed and wounded in a war without end or purpose.

Good news poll from Newsweek

For the Democrats.
For the first time since 2001, the NEWSWEEK poll shows that more Americans trust the Democrats than the GOP on moral values and the war on terror. Fully 53 percent of Americans want the Democrats to win control of Congress next month, including 10 percent of Republicans, compared to just 35 percent who want the GOP to retain power. If the election were held today, 51 percent of likely voters would vote for the Democrat in their district versus 39 percent who would vote for the Republican. And while the race is closer among male voters (46 percent for the Democrats vs. 42 percent for the Republicans), the Democrats lead among women voters 56 to 34 percent.....

.....Democrats now outdistance Republicans on every single issue that could decide voters’ choices come Nov. 7. In addition to winning—for the first time in the NEWSWEEK poll—on the question of which party is more trusted to fight the war on terror (44 to 37 percent) and moral values (42 percent to 36 percent), the Democrats now inspire more trust than the GOP on handling Iraq (47 to 34); the economy (53 to 31); health care (57 to 24); federal spending and the deficit (53 to 29); gas and oil prices (56 to 23); and immigration (43 to 34).
Maybe we really have Had Enough!

Jeb Bush is running

From the people, as is common with Bushoviks.The fun took place in Pittsburgh at a fund-raiser for good ole Man on Dog Santorum.
Protesters said Gov. Bush blew them a kiss, acknowledging the crowd of about 30 chanting pickets that was made up of United Steelworkers and members of Uprise Counter Recruitment, a tour traveling through 22 cities to support anti-war efforts.

The protesters came closer.

"Jeb, go home," they shouted.

Mr. Bush, accompanied by a security guard and a female aide, made a slow retreat toward the T-station at Wood Street.

"He was quickly getting out of the way and not wanting to engage us," said Jon Vandenburgh, one of the protesters, who also is a researcher for the United Steelworkers.

Once in the subway station, Mr. Bush scurried to the escalators and descended to the mezzanine level, Mr. Vandenburgh said.

By now, Mr. Bush was cornered. He was surrounded by signs that said "Pittsburgh is a Santorum Free Zone," "Honk if you're sick of Rick," and a crowd growing increasingly louder, according to Mr. Vandenburgh.

"We don't want you here," protesters chanted.
Strange it is that he was allowed out in public like that. I'll just bet it doesn't happen again.

The Republicans Great White Hope

Also known as the Great White Whale or Denny Hastert.The party is pinning its hope of evading responsibility for the Hastert-Reynolds Scandal, called by some FoleyGate, on Fat Denny's recent remarks that appear to accept responsibility while evading said responsibility completely.
“The speaker has taken responsibility and is taking control of the situation,” his spokesman, Ron Bonjean, said Friday afternoon.

After a chaotic week that began with the resignation of Representative Mark Foley, Republican of Florida, other lawmakers were assessing whether Mr. Hastert’s announcement on Thursday that he would not resign but would punish anyone found to have been derelict in the Foley case would be enough to calm the furor. They were hoping to avoid more leadership turmoil just one month before the midterm elections.
As yet, no one has asked Fat Denny what he will do if he is found to have been derelict in the Foley case. And I doubt that any punishment from Fat Denny will damage any Republicans, at least not before the election.

UPDATE: All this assumes no more details emerge such as the latest in the WaPo. A second House staffer has backed up Kirk Fordhams assertion that the Speakers Chief of Staff knew about the Foley's chickenhawk habits well before November '05.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Foley, the gift that keeps on giving

And the latest polls show the effect it is having on the House campaigns, none of it good for the Coverup Queens aka the Republicans.
At least five more Republican Congressional seats are now in serious contention, analysts said Friday, an unwelcome development for Republicans as they begin to confront a political environment further darkened for them by the Congressional page scandal.

The fury over sexually charged messages sent to male teenage pages by Representative Mark Foley of Florida is undercutting Republican support among elderly voters, suburbanites and women, analysts from both parties said.

More immediately — and more alarmingly for Republican strategists who have looked to the party’s powerful voter turnout operation to save the party this year — there are signs that the furor is sapping the enthusiasm of a group essential to Republican victories in 2002 and 2004: religious conservatives.
Even better, the MSM seems to have begun to notice the snow job they were getting from the Republicans.
Republicans and their allies, including conservative talk radio hosts, have responded by rallying around Mr. Hastert and blaming Democrats and the news media for the frenzy.

Talk radio hosts, working off a list of talking points distributed by Republican Party officials
Just like they have been doing for the last 20 years, nice of you to notice now.

Still it has all caused a major shift in electoral dynamics.
Democrats need to capture 15 House seats to take control of Congress; until the last week or two, about 40 Republican seats had been judged in play, of which 20 had been considered highly competitive. But analysts said at least five more Republican seats, and as many as eight, that had once been considered relative long shots for Democrats had now swung firmly into play.

At least two of those seats are directly related to the Foley scandal. One is held by Mr. Reynolds, who as chairman of the House Republican campaign committee had entered this election cycle as a prohibitive favorite for re-election. Republicans in Florida do not plan to spend any money to defend the seat once held by Mr. Foley, effectively conceding it to the Democratic challenger, Tim Mahoney, who, not taking any chances, is running advertisements in which he pledges to return “moral values” to Congress.
Music to my ears. And another straw was added today with the resignation of Susan Ralston.They usually resign just before the law closes in.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Are you Registered To Vote?

If not, follow the directions on this quote lifted from The Daily Kos.
If you haven't registered to vote and you live in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, or Washington, do it today. The deadlines for those states fall between October 7 - October 11, which is early next week. Voter registration is no longer hard. I did it a few days ago (change of address) through this site, which produced a nice slick PDF which I mailed in. The whole process took me fifteen minutes.


As a bonus, since I did it through that site I'm now counted as an 'Internet Freedom Voter', or a voter who cares about net neutrality.

If you need deadlines for other states,go to this post.
Then read the rest of the post to find ways to help American defeat the scourge of Bushovism.

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