Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dell PC Customer Service Sucks!

Offline since Friday, and probably will be offline a few more days. Dell Customer Service sucks. Everyone has been frustratingly polite, but this has not been very efficient process. Dell Customer Service has certainly lost me for a future customer!

At any rate, I hope to be back online and blogging within a few days. (Posted this quick update from the library!)


Friday, August 25, 2006

Gen. Batiste: Rumsfeld ‘Served Up Our Great Military A Huge Bowl of Chicken Feces’

Today on MSNBC, retired General John Batiste — former commander of the First Infantry division in Iraq — said that it was “outrageous” Rumsfeld was still in charge of the Pentagon. Batiste added, “He served up our great military a huge bowl of chicken feces, and ever since then, our military and our country have been trying to turn this bowl into chicken salad.”

Watch it here.

Bush thinks there's "no point" in considering whether we've lost Iraq

It's just a philosophical discussion, according to Bush, whether we've lost and need to find a way out. How is it philosophical when we have over 100,000 troops in that country and they're getting shot at every day? How is a cost of $100 billion a year "philosophical"?

The man has lost touch with reality. And he's running our country. And the Republicans controlling the congress are giving him a rubber stamp to do whatever he wants.

by John in DC (John Aravosis is a Washington DC-based writer and political consultant, specializing in using the Internet for political advocacy.)

Comment Of The Day

Dover Bitch responding to the JC Watts inanity on the Plan B - "Morning After" birth control pill:

  • Yesterday, they said life begins with conception.
  • Today, they say life begins with intercourse.
  • Tomorrow, they will tell us life begins with dinner and a movie.

Jesse James (of Monster Garage): "Everyone in Iraq knows Bush is a d**khead"

The motorcycle maker visited American soldiers outside Baghdad, Iraq - and is convinced the majority of the US military agree with him. James says, "Everyone in Iraq knows Bush is a d**khead. He's the boss' kid. "Everybody I know who has a successful business who has a kid - the kid is always a f**khead. Have you ever noticed that?"

Cheney Thinks Economy Sucks

What's that expression? Money talks, bulls**t walks...

According to Kiplinger's, the Cheneys, who may be worth close to $100 million, have invested the vast majority of their wealth overseas, in markets that do not fluctuate based on the U.S. dollar:

Vice President Cheney's financial advisers are apparently betting on a rise in inflation and interest rates and on a decline in the value of the dollar against foreign currencies. That's the conclusion we draw after scouring the financial disclosure form released by Cheney this week.
The Cheneys' money is not in a blind trust but, according to his advisers: "the vice president pays no attention to his investments."

Makes sense. We know that he and his boss are paying little attention to the well-being of the U.S. economy at large. Whether or not he’s personally paying any attention to his investment (and it is a little unrealistic that he isn’t paying some attention), it is incredible to think that he didn't even bother to direct his money managers to keep his money domestic.

Rep. Shays (R-CT): To Succeed In Iraq, We Need A Timetable For Withdrawal

Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) is the latest member of Congress to advocate a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq. Shays has visited Iraq 14 times. This morning on Fox, he said that the way for the United States to succeed in Iraq is to “incentivize the Iraqis” to take control of their own country. The way to do that, according to Shays, is to let them know “there is a limit to our presence there.”

Shays noted that previous timelines — to hold elections and create a constitution — are what has spurred the greatest progress in Iraq.

The Katrina Timeline

To mark the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the White House is planning a “public relations blitz” to counteract criticism that it bears some responsibility for “the government’s tardy response and the region’s slow recovery.”

ThinkProgress is counteracting the spin with hard facts. We’ve created a Katrina timeline that documents all the key events over the last year — from the hurricane’s landing to today. Check it out HERE.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Republicans want intel on Iran to be scarier

This is one of the most important and interesting articles I've read in a long time. It's already getting some notice, but given my experience in intelligence, there are a few elements I want to highlight.

The article essentially presents the argument as "intelligence officials downplaying the Iran threat" versus "Republicans mad about this fact." That's a mischaracterization. Iran is simply not an imminent threat, nor is it a threat to vital U.S. interests in ways that would necessitate an aggressive response (supporting anti-U.S. terrorist action, for example). For intelligence analysts to state those facts isn't being "gun shy," as Rep. Holt (D-NJ) unfortunately put it, rather it's a simple reflection of accurate assessments based on the facts available. The House intel committee is right to say that we don't have enough information on Iran, but analysts have to work with what they have, not politicized conjecture. There's a difference between connecting and explaining the dots and creating new ones to reach a preordained conclusion.

Further, despite some assumptions to the contrary, intelligence agencies have a natural (and wholly understandable) predisposition towards warning. Rarely do analysts downplay potential problems because there's generally a much higher price to pay for underestimating a threat than overestimating it. Certainly intelligence agencies got Iraq's WMDs wrong, but the march to war was led by political leadership, not by the agencies and certainly not by analysts.

And why elected officials are so eager to confront (not engage, but confront) Iran is beyond me. It's backwards decision-making again: the conclusion and then cherry-picking evidence to support it. Good for the analysts for resisting this kind of nonsense.

The bottom line is, it's not that analysts are trying to downplay the threat of Iran . . . it's that the threat doesn't meet the "THE SCARY!" threshold that these Republicans are hoping for.

As an aside to my broader point, it's worth noting, for pure hilarity, that the House intel report the article cites, aside from being fairly idiotic overall, has an interesting perspective on Iran's missile launch locations. If you scroll down to page 15, you'll see that the report, written by the House committee responsible for intelligence, appears to have the ranges for Iranian missiles (including one that doesn't exist, natch) originating from . . . wait for it . . . Kuwait! Apparently Iran took over Kuwait and nobody even noticed.

- AJ in DC is a former Department of Defense civilian Intelligence Officer who was decorated for his recent civilian service in Iraq. He is an Iraq expert, and an authority on Iran, democratization, nation-building, Middle East politics, intelligence, and national security matters. He is a consultant on these and other political subjects, and writes on AMERICAblog about defense issues.

We've Got No Intel on Iran, Yet the GOP Wants War

The New York Times takes a different read on the Iran intelligence issue than the Reuters article cited below. The Times is focused on the fact that top Republicans aren't happy with the lack of intel about Iran because, it seems, those officials want to build the case for action against Iran:

Some senior Bush administration officials and top Republican lawmakers are voicing anger that American spy agencies have not issued more ominous warnings about the threats that they say Iran presents to the United States.

Some policy makers have accused intelligence agencies of playing down Iran’s role in Hezbollah’s recent attacks against Israel and overestimating the time it would take for Iran to build a nuclear weapon.

The complaints, expressed privately in recent weeks, surfaced in a Congressional report about Iran released Wednesday. They echo the tensions that divided the administration and the Central Intelligence Agency during the prelude to the war in Iraq.

The criticisms reflect the views of some officials inside the White House and the Pentagon who advocated going to war with Iraq and now are pressing for confronting Iran directly over its nuclear program and ties to terrorism, say officials with knowledge of the debate.

We don't even have the intelligence to enter negotiations with Iran. Forget about negotiations, having no real intelligence has not been an impediment to war for the Bush team. In the warped world view of George Bush, if there is no intel, we'll have to go to war:

The U.S. intelligence community is ill-prepared to assess Iran's nuclear weapons capabilities and its intentions for developing weapons of mass destruction, a congressional report said on Wednesday.

Noting "significant gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the various areas of concern about Iran," the House Intelligence Committee staff report questioned whether the United States could even effectively engage in talks with Tehran on ways to diffuse tensions.

We've been down this path before. Bush, the neo-cons and the GOP want the intelligence to match their agenda. They're not happy that they're not getting it.

The Bush team is really starting to beat the drums for war again. While most Americans are worried about getting out of the quagmire in Iraq, Bush is getting ready for his next war -- without intelligence again.

Bush Meets With Katrina Activist Who Wishes ‘The President Could Have Another Term In Office’

For the last several days, Katrina victim Rockey Vaccarella has been on television repeatedly requesting a meeting with President Bush so he could “thank him for what he has done.” This morning, Bush met with him.

Standing with Bush, Vaccarella said, “I just wish the President could have another term in office.”

Watch and learn what it takes to score a meeting with President Bush.

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan — whose son died in Iraq — camped outside Bush’s ranch last summer, seeking to arrange a meeting with the President. But Bush disagreed with Sheehan’s message of bringing the troops home from Iraq and declined to meet with her.

[FYI: One good Rockey Vaccarella got a meeting with the President is that Vaccarella is a Republican politician, having run unsuccessfully under the GOP banner for a seat on the St. Bernard Parish commission back in 1999.]

Transcript of the video segments:

ROCKEY: When we have dinner with President Bush, all I want to do is first of all thank him. I want to thank him for what he’s done. [CNN, 8/19/06]

ROCKEY: You know, I want to thank the president. I am not going over there to throw any jabs or anything like that. President Bush did a lot for us. [CNN, 8/20/06]

ROCKEY: We are going to let the president know hey, thanks for everything you done, we know you are a busy man, and we feel safe with him as chief of our military. [CNN, 8/20/06]

ROCKEY: And when I talk to President Bush, I want to let him say, hey, you know what? There’s been enough mudslinging. And I just want to let him know that, you know, thank you for the FEMA trailer, thank you for what you have done. [CNN, 8/21/06]

ROCKEY: And, you know — you know, there’s been, you know, a lot of — a lot of negative publicity towards President Bush. And that’s not what we are about. [CNN, 8/21/06]

ROCKEY: And I just wish the President could have another term in office. You know, wish you had another four years, man. If we had this President for another four years, I think it’d be great. But we’re gonna move on. Mr. President, it’s been my pleasure.
BUSH: You’re a good man, Rockey. Thank you all.
ROCKEY: You are too.
CNN: Well, if every meeting went like that, President Bush would meet everybody to come in and see him. [CNN, 8/23/06]

Why Not Impeachment?

So a judge has ruled that not only is Bush's warrantless wiretapping program illegal, it's also unconstitutional. And not just unconstitutional, but doubly unconstitutional; it violates both the 1st and 4th amendments. We're talking a smackdown of Judge Judy-esque proportions.

Now, I'm not really pushing the impeachment of George Bush, unless it's about lying about that fish I talked about last season. Them I'm all for it.

But if this decision stands, and this program is unlawful and unconstitutional, federal law expressly makes the ordering of surveillance under the program a federal felony. That would mean that the president could be guilty of no fewer than 30 felonies while in office. Moreover, it is not only illegal for a president to order such surveillance, it is illegal for other government officials to carry out such an order. And that means Alberto Gonzalez could be tried, convicted, and deported.

So let's just say for the sake of argument that the Supreme Court upholds this decision and says Bush broke the law and violated the Constitution. President Clinton was impeached for lying under oath in a civil case, a case that had no bearing on the public as a whole. This would - unquestionably - be a greater offense.

How would you square impeaching Clinton and not impeaching Bush? Or would Bush have to sleep with this judge in Detroit?

It's sort of like the 7 minutes question I always ask Republicans. Are you loyal to the man, or to the principle?

- Bill Maher is the host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher”

Children's Zoo Horsey Wants Liberal Media Traitors Executed by Firing Squad?

While looking for celebrity eagle Stephen Jr. in the children's area at the San Francisco Zoo, a colleague at the Chronicle ran into a different conservative icon: "Coulter," an American cream draft horse who bears a not-so-subtle resemblance to a certain controversial conservative pundit by the same name.

Is the Next Step a Draft?

An Iraq War veterans group says the call-up of thousands of Marines from the Individual Ready Reserve, announced by the Pentagon today, is "one of the last steps before resorting to a draft."
"This move should serve as a wake-up call to America," said Jon Soltz, an Army captain who served in Iraq and heads the group, which raises funds for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans running for Congress. "Today's announcement that thousands of Marines in the Individual Ready Reserve will be called back to go to Iraq is proof that our military is overextended, and there is no plan for victory in Iraq."
While the Pentagon has repeatedly maintained the armed forces have met their recruiting and retention goals, Soltz says, "Today's actions speak louder than words."

- Rhonda Schwartz, ABC News Blotter

U.S. School Kids Donate More to Katrina Relief Than Most Big Corporations

School children across the United States have raised more money for Katrina relief efforts than many major U.S. corporations, according to a non-profit group, RandomKid, which has tracked donations by children.

Over $10 million was raised by school kids through bake sales, lemonade stands, car washes and other fundraisers, according to RandomKid. That's more than almost every major U.S. corporation gave. More than wealthy oil and petrochemical companies, such as Chevron and ConocoPhillips. It's more than what AT&T and Verizon gave combined. And it's more than major brand name corporations like GE and Coca-Cola gave.

Only five U.S. corporations gave more than what was raised by the school kids, according to recently released report by the Foundation Center, a non-profit organization that has tracked Katrina relief donations.

Among the country's top corporate donors to Katrina relief, Wal-Mart is number one at $17 million, followed by Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati ($15 million), Exxon ($13 million) and Freddie Mac and BP Amoco (just over $10 million each), according to the Foundation Center.

- Maddy Sauer, ABC News Blotter

Conservative TV host says Bush does not inspire confidence

Former conservative Republican congressman Joe Scarborough, who last week discussed at length whether Bush "was an idiot," revisited the topic again today. He includes an entire, wonderful series of video Bushisms. John Amato at Crooks and Liars has the video, it's great. The rest of the video is a conservative spin-meister trying to explain that Bush really isn't an idiot.

But of course, Bush is an idiot. He lost an entire American city. He was in charge of the biggest US foreign policy disaster since Vietnam (if not bigger than Vietnam). He's spending hundreds of billions a year on TAX CUTS - not on the war on terror, on TAX CUTS.

George Bush is quite likely the worst president in US history. But there's something worse. Scarborough notes how Bush's mental capacity has declined dramatically since the early 90s. In the early 90s, he was actually intelligent, alert, answered questions quickly and smartly. Bush has changed dramatically as he's aged, to the point where you will not recognize the man he was a little over a decade ago. Scarborough is right, something is going on with Bush and his health, and it is not clear if our country can afford two more years of George Bush's increasingly erratic behavior.

Watch the video of Bush then and now for yourself.

Alaska governor loses bid for 2nd term

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski, whose perceived missteps over the past four years have turned him into one of the most unpopular governors in state history, soundly lost his bid for re-election after finishing last in a hotly contested three-way race for the Republican nomination.

LSB: Foreshadowing? An omen for incumbents? Let’s hope so! George Bush was a genius in comparison to this turkey. One down, LOTS more to go.

Iran's Mideast influence boosted by "war on terror"

LONDON (Reuters) - Iran's standing in the Middle East has been bolstered by President George W Bush's "war on terror" and its power will continue to grow unless stability is restored to its neighbors, a top think tank said on Tuesday.

London's Royal Institute for International Affairs said wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Israel's conflict with the Palestinians and with Lebanon's Hizbollah had put Iran "in a position of considerable strength."

"There is little doubt that Iran has been the chief beneficiary of the war on terror in the Middle East," the RIIA said in a report on the region.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

And on a Lighter Note...

Buchanan Argues For Immigration Moratorium To Preserve White Dominance

In his new book, State of Emergency, Pat Buchanan argues for “an immediate moratorium on all immigration.” Why? To preserve the dominance of the white race in America. Buchanan explains on pg. 11:

"America faces an existential crisis. If we do not get control of our borders, by 2050 Americans of European descent will be a minority in the nation their ancestors created and built. No nation has ever undergone so radical a demographic transformation and survived."
Indeed, Buchanan argues quite explicitly that only whites have the appropriate “genetic endowments” to keep America from collapsing. From pg. 164:

In 1994, Sam Francis, the syndicated columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times… volunteered this thought:

“The civilization that we as whites created in Europe and America could not have developed apart from the genetic endowments of the creating people, nor is there any reason to believe that the civilization can be successfully transmitted by a different people.”

Had Francis said this of Chinese civilization and the Chinese people, it would have gone unnoted. But he was suggesting Western civilization was superior and that only Europeans could have created it. If Western peoples perish, as they are doing today, Francis was implying, we must expect our civilization to die with us. No one would deny that when the Carthaginians perished, Carthaginian civilization and culture perished. But by claiming the achievements of the West for Europeans, Francis had passed beyond the bounds of tolerance. He was summarily fired.
Buchanan goes on to praise those who, implicitly or explicitly, talk about the genetic superiority of the white race, including John Rocker of the Atlanta Braves, Bell Curve authors Richard Hernstein and Charles Murray, and Al Campanis of the Los Angeles Dodgers. (Campanis said that blacks “may not have the necessities to be, let’s say, a field manager, or, perhaps, a general manager.” He added that blacks were often poor swimmers “because they don’t have the buoyancy.”)

Buchanan calls Francis views on white racial superiority the “Great Taboo.” But refusing to acknowledge it, according to Buchanan, is “like not telling one’s doctor of a recurring pain that could kill you.”

Buchanan has been showered with attention from cable and network television to spread his book’s message.

LSB: Sorry, I couldn’t find a picture of Pat in his white sheet and hood. Of course the cable and network television shows want him and for the same reasons that they give Ann Coulter air time – it keeps the right wing from accusing these media outlets of having a “liberal bias.”

And Joe's take: In his new book, State Of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, currently #1 on Amazon, former presidential candidate and current crazy person Pat Buchanan claims that the Mexican government is secretly encouraging illegal immigration into the U.S. as part of its plot to retake the American southwest for Mexico.

Key Quotes:
"Between 10 and 20 percent of all Mexicans, Central Americans and Caribbean people have already moved to the United States."

"Powerful Mexican and U.S. elites seek to erase America’s borders and merge the United States and Mexico into a “North American Union.”

“Concerned about his legacy, George W. Bush may yet live to see his name entered into the history of his country as the president who lost the American Southwest that James K. Polk won for the United States."
Where are the men with the nets when you need them? Buchanan also calls for "an Eisenhower-type deportation program, beginning with all illegal aliens convicted of felonies and every gang member not a U.S. citizen." Oh c'mon, Pat. Deport over 10 million people? We couldn't even get a drink of water to a tiny fraction of that many people during Katrina, and THEY wanted to be found. [LSB: ROFLMAO!]

In his last book, The Death Of The West, Buchanan ranted that declining birth rates among white people in Europe was going to bring out the end of Western Civilization. You may also recall his '92 presidential campaign chestnut, "AIDS is nature's retribution for violating the laws of nature." Buchanan is a madman and it depresses me immensely to see his book at #1.

Conrad Burns Falls Asleep on the Job

Senator Conrad Burns (R-Montana) attended a Farm Bill Field Hearing on August 17, 2006. Burns had arranged the hearing, saying "I am glad I've been able to secure this field hearing for Montana."

"This Farm Bill is critically important for my producers..." Burns also said. Burns' statements were prior to his dozing off during the 'critically important' hearing.

Click the pic for the video.

LSB: Burns has been named one of the 13 "most corrupt" members of Congress. In July, you may recall, he confronted members of a firefighting team from Staunton, VA, at the Billings airport and "thanked" them for their "piss-poor job" in handling the fires in his state.

In FL State Senate race, Family Values Campaign Tested by Real Life

TALLAHASSEE, FL (AP) - Randall Terry doesn't run away from "family values issues" in his state Senate race.

Among the conservative Christian's pledges are preserving traditional marriage and opposing gay adoptions. He has touted efforts to stop abortions. His campaign mailers sum up the value he puts on family: they show a picture with his wife, a daughter and three grinning young sons taken before a fourth was born this summer.

But Terry's adopted son Jamiel says the picture is missing two people: he and his sister Tila, also adopted. Both have been estranged from Terry since Jamiel came out as a gay man and Tila had a child out of wedlock.

LSB: Hypocrazy! (FYI: intentionally misspelled to make a point) Terry, as you may know, is the holier-than-thou asshole that has made a name for himself by leading protests at abortion clinics across the U.S.

Sunday School Teacher Dumped for Being Female

"A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became sinner."-- Scripture (1 Timothy 2:11-14) quoted in a letter to 81-year-old Mary Lambert, who was booted from her adult Sunday school position after 54 years because she's a woman.

LSB: I realize that every religion has their fanatics and those that give their religion a black eye, but Dobson, Fallwell, Phelps, Terry, the pastor of this church and MANY other holier-than-thou lunatics give Christianity a bad rep and make the religion easy prey for those who would paint all Christians with the same broad strokes. This kind of un-Christ-like behavior is what leads many of us to abandon the church, though not our faith.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1....MELTDOWN

The company which (granted, under economic pressure) originated the $5/day paycheck in the 1920's has decided to "cut it's way to profitability" essentially by reducing it's workforce about 20%.

The decision by Ford to close plants over the weekend and reduce production by more than 20% is a bell weather. Combine that with the crash landing happening in slow motion in the housing industry, the recession is now not years away, but might be weeks, certainly only months from now.

This isn't "Chicken Little" stuff here: it's happened before. The problem is that there is absolutely no safety net for Joe and Jane Sixpack. When the Ca-Ca hits the rotary air motion transformer this time, NOBODY gets a raincoat. We will ALL take a shit bath.

- Tyler Durden's Journal

Day 1,800 on the Osama Clock

Of all the things that George W. Bush has done to exploit our nation's tragedy on September 11, 2001, none brought him more political capital than his macho posturing in the weeks and months following the attacks. He stood on the rubble of the fallen World Trade Center and declared that the terrorists who attacked us would "hear all of us soon." A few days later, he invoked imagery of the Old West and, with steely resolve, said that he was committed to getting Osama bin Laden "dead or alive."

And here we sit, exactly 1,800 days later with a civil war in Iraq, the Taliban still killing American troops in Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden very much alive and running free to podcast threats against our country from a Dick Cheney-like undisclosed location.

President Bush seems to have missed one of the central tenets of being a real tough guy: That you're able to back up your words with action and, once you boast that you're about to open a can of whoop-ass on someone, that it actually happens.

- Bob Geiger

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Is Bush Wired? When NASA's imaging experts deliver astonishing images of far-off planets, the mainstream media can't rush them to print quickly enough. But when one of those same NASA imaging experts, Robert Nelson, revealed an unmistakable bulge in the back of George W. Bush during the debates, the mainstream media was terrified to report the truth.

LSB: Ever since the 2004 Presidential Debates, where the mysterious bulge on Bush’s back was apparent to all and never fully explained (i.e., ‘bad tailoring’… yeah, I don’t think so!), I, too, wondered whether he was wired to Karl Rove et al for his alleged impromptu remarks and answers. While this link/site is, to be sure, partisan in its dogged insistence that he does wear a wire to press conferences, there is more than enough information to warrant at least a “Hmmm…” Thoughts?

First Frat Boy Likes to Fart: “[Bush] loves to cuss, gets a jolly when a mountain biker wipes out trying to keep up with him, and now we're learning that the first frat boy loves flatulence jokes. A top insider let that slip when explaining why President Bush is paranoid around women, always worried about his behavior. But he's still a funny, earthy guy who, for example, can't get enough of fart jokes. He's also known to cut a few for laughs, especially when greeting new young aides.”

LSB: This may not rise to the level of blow jobs in the White House, but it certainly falls short of restoring any dignity to the Office of the President.

Is Bret Baier the New "Jeff Gannon"? Is Fox News' White House correspondent Bret Baier spending his nights at the White House like former White House correspondent "Jeff Gannon"? The reason I ask is because Bush repeatedly smiled and winked at Baier, which was especially weird and disturbing because the topics being discussed were the death and destruction across the Middle East resulting from Bush's utterly failed policies. Baier is Bush's type, both physically (built like "Jeff Gannon") and career-wise (never served in the military, but spent a lot of time "sucking up" to military men). Calling all Gannon watchers: What do you think?

LSB: LOL! Seems preposterous, but I love it! This is exactly the type of thing Karl Rove did in Texas to get Bush elected in 1994. Rove would call conservative radio talk shows, disguise his voice, and ask questions about Ann Richard’s lesbian lover. Despite being married for more than 20 years, having children and grandchildren, and not one iota of truth in his suggestions, this kind of gossip spread like wildfire among conservative circles. Kind of takes one back to the pre-Watergate era of the Nixon campaign when Don Segretti was “rat fucking” the opposition. (Ok, now I’m dating myself.)

Bush never plans to leave Iraq, no matter HOW bad or HOW hopeless it gets

This is a very important point that, oddly, Bush himself has openly admitted repeatedly. He plans to keep US troops in Iraq until the end of his term, period. We're not leaving. It doesn't matter how bad things get, how many Americans die, how much money it costs. It doesn't even matter how hopeless the situation becomes. He will NOT remove US troops from that country until "we win."

But what if we can't win?

This is the question that Bush refuses to answer. Bush has only ONE plan for Iraq. We win, then we come home. And its corollary, we don't come home UNTIL we win.

But what if we never win?

While it's cute for George Bush and the Republicans to always pull the "America" card and tell everyone, ad infinitum, that Americans ALWAYS win (because we're the GOOD GUYS), that is simply bravado and a lie. Being good guys didn't help us in Vietnam - we lost and had to withdraw. Being good guys didn't help us in Lebanon in the 1980s - we lost and withdrew. It also didn't help us in Somalia in the 1990s - same story.

Every decade of the past 4 we've had at least one big military loss and been forced to withdraw. So who is to say that we won't lose in Iraq, or haven't lost already? We are not infallible. No one wants to "lose," but to suggest that we can't lose because Americans simply don't lose, or because the cost of losing is too high (hello, Vietnam?), is not a sane basis for figuring out what our strategy should be in this war.

George Bush and the Republican party (along with a few GOP clones like Joe Lieberman) are refusing to accept, or even discuss, the reality that is Iraq. We are in the midst of a terrible war that is not going well. Yet our leaders refuse to change course in terms of how they execute that war because they have a belief that no matter how poorly they execute the war we will win anyway. George Bush, as the emodiment of "America," is infallible - nothing he does can lead to defeat, so stop whining.

That is a very dangerous basis on which to run a country, especially when the "infallible" monarch is someone as incompetent as George W. Bush. The man lost New Orleans, he can lose Iraq.

P.S. A second possibility, just as disturbing, is that Bush and the Republicans KNOW that Iraq is lost, but because of a desire to save face they refuse to withdraw. They want to leave the problem for the next president two and a half years from now simply because they don't want to be blamed for the coming disaster. To hell with the cost in lives and dollars. The Republicans would rather see our soldiers die than have their party lose face over a war they've already lost.

Kristol: ‘We Could Be In A Military Confrontation With Iran Much Sooner Than People Expect’

This morning on Fox News, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol continued to beat the war drums for a military strike against Iran. Watch the video.

Kristol is attempting to hype the Iranian situation as a crisis. As Retired Army Lt. Gen. Robert G. Gard said recently, “To call the Iranian situation a ‘crisis’ connotes you have to do something right now, like bomb them.”

The truth is there is very little good intelligence on Iran’s capabilities. Here’s what the experts are saying:
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts warned that “we have not made the progress on our oversight of Iran intelligence, which is critical.”

Roberts’ Intel Committee staff director Bill Duhnke said, “There is no organized commit­tee staff effort to look at Iran right now.”

“I continue to believe that our sources are stale and our case is thin,” said Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee

“U.S. intelligence on the ground is quite poor, especially as it relates to understanding how decisions are made and who controls the power centers in Iran,” said CSIS expert Jon Wolfsthal.
Faulty intelligence hasn’t stopped Kristol in the past. Why would he start now?

LSB: This is the same little chicken-shit/chicken-hawk that suggested the U.S. needed to instigate regime change in North Korea just four months after Bush declared “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq.

Bush Tosses Pro-Life Supporters Under the Bus

WASHINGTON, August 21, 2006 ( - For his pro-life supporter base, President George W. Bush stepped into one of the biggest political landmines of his Presidential career today with his approval of over the counter status for the abortion-causing morning after pill Plan B.

A press release by Human Life International underscored the seriousness of the move as it was titled, "President Bush Files for Divorce with Catholic Base." Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Human Life International commented, "President Bush's implied support for the abortion-causing drug Plan B is completely inconsistent with his recent veto of the embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) funding bill. What the president apparently fails to realize is that Plan B kills the same innocent unborn children that the ESCR process does."

LSB: He didn’t just throw his supporter base under the bus, he also tossed House Republicans under the bus with them. While I agree with his decision to approve this drug, this is inconsistent with his stem cell veto. Why this change? Does he (Rove) think that the centrists will take this as an olive branch and vote Republican in November? If I were a Bush supporter I’d be hard pressed to offer much support to the Repubs in November given this vote, and this certainly wouldn’t be enough if I were a centrist to buy my vote.

It’s Called ‘Cut & Run’ (Except When Bush & Blair Discuss It)

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain may cut its force in Iraq in half by the middle of next year after handing over security responsibility for the south to Iraqis within nine months, a senior British commander said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters on condition he not be identified, the commander said Britain would leave "quite a significantly smaller force than we've got now, but probably in the region of 3,000 to 4,000 people based in a single location."

Britain handed over responsibility for one of the southern provinces it controls to Iraqi forces in July, and the commander said it hopes to hand over a second province next month.

State Dept’s #2 Linked to Plamegate?

WASHINGTON (AP) – Then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, the No. 2 State Department official, met with Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward in mid-June 2003, the same time the reporter has testified that an administration official talked to him about CIA employee Valerie Plame.

LSB: Please, please, PLEASE let there be another indictment this fall in time to remind voters of the Bush admin’s treasonous history.

Iraqi Civil War? Only if Andrea Mitchell Says So

NBC stalwart and frequent White House water-carrier Andrea Mitchell minced no words on The Chris Matthews Show Sunday: "This is civil war by any definition of civil war. You talk to military people in and out of uniform, and they say it's a civil war. It's only the civilian people at the Pentagon who are denying it."

Time for George W. Bush to think about paraphrasing fellow Texan Lyndon Johnson: "If Ah've lost Andrea Mitchell, Ah've lost America."

Monday, August 21, 2006

What You Need To Believe To Be A Republican

LSB: Ok, this was an email that has probably been sent around the Internet for quite a while, read and forwarded millions of times, but it struck a cord with me today, so I’m posting it.

1. Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.
2. Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.
3. Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.
4. The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.
5. A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.
6. The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches, while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.
7. If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.
8. A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.
9. Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing health care to all Americans is socialism. HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.
10. Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.
11. A president lying about an extramarital affair is a impeachable offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.
12. Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring theInternet.
13. The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.
14. Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.
15. Supporting "Executive Privilege" for every Republican ever born, who will be born or who might be born (in perpetuity.)
16. What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.
17. Support hunters who shoot their friends and blame them for wearing orange vests similar to those worn by the quail.

Feel free to pass this on. If you don't send it to at least 10 other people, we're likely to be stuck with more Republicans in '06 and '08. Remember: Friends don't let friends vote Republican.

Buchanan: Mexico Conspiring To ‘Re-Annex’ Seven Southwest States

Appearing on Imus In the Morning to promote his new book, State of Emergency, Pat Buchanan asserted that the Mexican government has a “direct program” to reannex “the seven states of the American Southwest.” The first step is for Mexico “to push the poor, unemployed, and uneducated into the United States.” He criticized President Bush for not understanding “the nature and character of the invasion” from Mexico.

LSB: Not to worry, Pat, “W” has a plan: (1) tax the hell out of them (they’re poor – they can afford it more than his oil buddies); (2) reduce health care access for their children (they'll have to go home to access the less expensive medicines U.S. drug companies make available everyplace but in the U.S.); and (3) under-educate their kids through his ‘No Chil’ Lerns to Reed’ program so that they, too, may become unemployable for everything but agriculture, lawn maintenance, hotel cleaning and fajita making. He figures they’ll be scrambling back over the fence to Mexico in no time. Duh!

What a bigoted ass you are, Pat! This is a nation of immigrants. Throughout our relatively brief history there have been, with each wave of immigrants from a particular country (take your pick), these same dire warnings – ‘they’re sending the poor, their unemployed and uneducated…’ Why do you think they’re coming here? If things were so hunky-dory in their own country they’d stay there. Besides, where would we be without these workers? Are you and your neighbors willing to take on some of the jobs these workers are willing to take in order to support their families? Will you cut your own grass, or even pay a living wage that would make “a real American” take that job? As long as there is work here Americans won’t take, we’ll have immigrants grateful for the opportunity those jobs provide them.

Complaints without offering a solution. Typical.

“The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of an eye: the more light you pour on it, the more it contracts.” - Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, U.S. Supreme Court

Muslim doctor wants apology from U.S. airline

A Winnipeg doctor is demanding an official apology and compensation from United Airlines after being kicked off a flight in the U.S. this week, an incident he has characterized as "institutionalized discrimination."

Dr. Ahmed Farooq, a Muslim, was escorted off an airplane in Denver on Tuesday. According to Farooq, reciting his evening prayers was interpreted by one passenger as an activity that was suspicious.

"The whole situation is just really frustrating," Farooq said. "It makes you uneasy, because you realize you have to essentially watch every single thing you say and do, and it's worse for people who are of colour, who are identifiable as a minority."

Farooq said the allegation came from a passenger who appeared drunk and had previously threatened him during the trip. When flight personnel were alerted, the 27-year-old radiology resident and two colleagues — a man and a woman — were taken off their flight. They had been returning from a conference in San Francisco.

Farooq said that even officials from the Transportation Security Administration soon realized the flight crew had overreacted, but by the time that conclusion had been reached the trio were forced to stay in Denver for the night and catch a flight the next day — at their own expense.

"There's no recourse," Farooq said. "There's no way to really be able to talk to anybody to really be able to reason it out. The police officers who talked to me afterwards and subsequent officials within the first three to five minutes, they were like, 'You know what? The crew made a mistake. We apologize that they took you off. They overreacted.'"

- CBC News

LSB: The effects of the Republican “Fear and Smear” tactics. Maybe we should have a new safety rule - No Praying on Airlines? I wonder how that would play out.

70’s Law Costs 61,000 Military Widows Thousands of Dollars in Survivor Benefits

As many as 61,000 military widows whose husbands died of causes relating to their military service lose out on thousands of dollars a year in survivor benefits because of a law that dates from the 1970’s.

Widows and retirees have spent decades trying to persuade Congress to change the law, which hits hardest at the widows of lower-ranking service members and is referred to by many critics as the “widow’s tax.’’

The Senate passed such a change last year and again this year as part of the military authorization bill. But House Republican leaders oppose the change because of its steep price tag, nearly $9 billion over 10 years, Senate legislative aides from both parties say. A change was not in the military bill that passed the House, but lawmakers who support the change are hoping to make it part of the bill’s final version, which is now being worked on by a bipartisan Congressional committee.

- Lizette Alvarez, NYT

LSB: House Republicans apparently care more for the richest 1% of tax payers (their benefactors) than the widows of those paying the ultimate sacrifice to their country. Let’s vote accordingly!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Blair 'feels betrayed by Bush on Lebanon'

The alliance between George Bush and Tony Blair is in danger after it was revealed that the Prime Minister believes the President has 'let him down badly' over the Middle East crisis.

A senior Downing Street source said that, privately, Mr. Blair broadly agrees with John Prescott, who said Mr. Bush's record on the issue was 'crap'.

The source said: "We all feel badly let down by Bush. We thought we had persuaded him to take the Israel-Palestine situation seriously, but we were wrong. How can anyone have faith in a man of such low intellect?"

LSB: How, indeed, can anyone have faith in Bush?

Frank Rich Isn't Afraid Anymore

NYT: “As the election campaign quickens, genuine nightmares may well usurp the last gasps of Rovian fear-based politics. It’s hard to ignore the tragic reality that American troops are caught in the cross-fire of a sectarian bloodbath escalating daily, that botched American policy has strengthened Iran and Hezbollah and undermined Israel, and that our Department of Homeland Security is as ill-equipped now to prevent explosives (liquid or otherwise) in cargo as it was on 9/11. For those who’ve presided over this debacle and must face the voters in November, this is far scarier stuff than a foiled terrorist cell, nasty bloggers and Ned Lamont combined.”

Media Noticing that Republicans are in Disarray

As I've noted before, one of the more underreported political stories of late has been the extent to which Republicans have been divided over the Iraq war. Today's Washington Post fills in the details of some of this GOP disarray:

In an interview from Israel yesterday, Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) said the political will of the United States is being stretched to the limit. He promised to offer a time frame for troop withdrawals when he returns next week from his 14th trip to Iraq.

"We have got to find a way to come to some kind of consensus, so we can do what's right for our country and what's right for the Iraqis," said Shays, an ardent supporter of the war who is in a political dogfight with his antiwar Democratic opponent. "We have to say 'This is the latest we will leave' and be able to live with that."...

On Thursday, Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) wrote a letter to constituents declaring that he was saying no to "President Bush's 'stay-the-course' strategy" in Iraq.
Add Shays and Fitzpatrick to other GOPers who have broken ranks in one form or another on Iraq, like Chuck Hagel, Gil Gutknecht and Walter Jones.

Shays, of course, is buckling because Ned Lamont's victory - you know, the one that was supposed to be so good for Republicans - has racheted up the pressure on him to distance himself from President Bush on Iraq. The more Dems talk about Iraq, the more intense the pressure becomes.

- Greg Sargent

AP documents the failures of Bush to keep his promises after Katrina

Despite the promises of George Bush, it's still a disaster:

Nearly half of New Orleans was still under water when President Bush stood in the Crescent City's historic Jackson Square and swore he would "do what it takes" to rebuild the communities and lives that had been laid to waste two weeks before by Hurricane Katrina.

"Our goal is to get the work done quickly," the president said.

He promised to spend federal money wisely and accountably. And he vowed to address the poverty exposed by the government's inadequate Katrina response
"with bold bold action."

A year after the storm, the federal government has proven slow and unreliable in keeping the president's promises.

The job of clearing debris left by the storm remains unfinished, and has been plagued by accusations of fraud and price gouging. Tens of thousands of families still live in trailers or mobile homes, with no indication of when or how they will be able to obtain permanent housing. Important decisions about rebuilding and improving flood defenses have been delayed. And little if anything has been done to ensure the welfare of the poor in a rebuilt New Orleans.

The AP documents the lack of progress in six areas: Emergency Assistance, Clean Up, Housing, Rebuilding, Levees, and Poverty. Bush's promises meant nothing... again. Does anyone really think this man and his incompetent administration can keep us safe?

- Joe in DC,

Friday, August 18, 2006

Daily Show: GayWatch

Click the pics to watch these YouTube highlights. (Links are working, though the pics may/may not be showing.)

Jon Stewart is on Fire!

LSB: Here is a collection of some hilarious moment from recent episodes of The Daily Show. Click on the titles to view the videos.

Supreme Irony in Bush’s Vacation Reading
Stewart: Press Secretary Tony Snow said Bush spent part of his vacation reading Albert Camus’ “The Stranger.” Now, if you’ve never read “The Stranger,” it’s a classic novel about...

‘Hezbollah’s Next Project: Rebuilding New Orleans
"Daily Show” correspondent John Oliver reports that the militant organization has had so much success rebuilding Lebanon that it’s eager to take on the reconstruction of New Orleans. Louisiana residents are hopeful. Hey, at least Hezbollah’s not FEMA.

Stewart Mocks Media for JonBenet Speculation
The “Daily Show” host reminds us why news networks had no trouble indulging in another round of wild speculation regarding the 6-year-old girl’s unsolved killing: For the media, JonBenet is known as … oxygen.

In a related story: Yesterday, a federal judge in Michigan issued “a sweeping rebuke of the once-secret domestic-surveillance effort the White House authorized following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.” The ruling was “a significant blow to Bush’s attempts to expand presidential powers,” but you wouldn’t know that by watching last evening’s network newscasts.

All three major TV networks led their evening news with stories on JonBenet Ramsey’s death and the comments made by arrested teacher John Mark Karr. The networks offered multiple segments and numerous expert analyses to provide in-depth coverage on the legal case. The NSA decision received only a passing mention from two of the newscasts, while ABC devoted a full segment to it.

...NBC...........7:39 minutes...........0:27 minutes
...CBS...........3:23 minutes..........0:25 minutes
...ABC...........4:03 minutes..........2:00 minutes

Bush Ignores Calling For Minimum Wage Increase On 10-Year Anniversary Of Last Increase

After President Bush met with his economic advisors today, he spoke to the media on the state of the economy:
"We discussed the state of the economy. We discussed where our economy is headed. And we discussed the steps that we’re going to take to ensure that our economy continues to lead the world."
One important step that Bush didn’t discuss in his speech was an increase in the minimum wage. This Sunday, Aug. 20, marks the 10-year anniversary of the 1996 minimum wage bill — the last time the minimum wage was increased.

Today, eight million Americans are still living on $5.15 an hour and the federal minimum wage is currently at its lowest level in 51 years. Since President Bush took office, the number of Americans living in poverty has increased by 5.4 million. (Unemployment and poverty rates fell after the 1996 legislation.)

The House hasn’t allowed a full floor vote on the minimum wage since the last increase went into effect. The Senate recently voted down a wage increase because it was tied, in a political ploy, to a cut in inheritance taxes on multimilllion-dollar estates.

The American economy can’t continue to lead if eight million people are left behind.

Dem's Angst About Lieberman Escalates

A group of Senate Democrats is growing increasingly angry about Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (D-Conn.) campaign tactics since he lost the Democratic primary last week. If he continues to alienate his colleagues, Lieberman could be stripped of his seniority within the Democratic caucus should he defeat Democrat Ned Lamont in the general election this November, according to some senior Democratic aides.

- Alexander Bolton

LSB: Why wait until November? Do it now! Joe’s shown his true color, and it isn’t blue.

UPDATE - Sidney Blumenthal: "For the Democratic Party the Lieberman problem is a serious one. After his primary loss he has become the de facto Republican candidate, virtually endorsed by Bush, Cheney and RNC chairman Ken Mehlman, who have withdrawn support from the actual Republican candidate in the race. Lieberman can only win by securing almost all the Republican votes. His campaign must pull Republican votes to the polls, courtesy of the national GOP on which his ambition has become dependent. That can have a drastically negative effect on the Democratic campaigns in the three Connecticut congressional districts where Republican representatives are at risk. Those three seats comprise 1/5 of the total number of 15 that Democrats need to gain the House. Out of necessity Lieberman has become an active obstacle to Democratic victory and one of the key bulwarks for protecting Bush's one-party rule essential for remaining unaccountable for the rest of his presidency. For Bush, that is the importance of Lieberman."

Two Thoughts on the NSA Ruling

LSB: There are a couple of interesting videos on regarding the ruling by a federal judge in Detroit who declared that the NSA eavesdropping program was illegal and unconstitutional. Click on the names to watch the videos.

Jonathan Turley gives us a good explanation of what today’s ruling means. The main thing to come out today is that Bush does not have this widespread Constitutional authority that he claims to be granted by the War Powers.

Jonathan Turley on MSNBC: "Every time a judge rules against the administration they are either too Democratic or too tall or too short or Pisces. All this spin - this effort to personalize it is doing a great injustice to our system. The problem is not the judge. The problem is a lack of authority. When Gonzales says ‘I got something back in my safe and if you could see it you would all agree with me’. Well, unless there’s a federal statute back in his safe, then it’s not going to make a difference."

Jack Cafferty ripped into the Republican leadership today over the recent ruling that the NSA warrantless program is illegal. For all the wingers that say the NSA helped in the UK terror plot, they should turn to their good pal O’Reilly, who said that they got FISA warrants in that case which proves the point. Right wing blogger Ace asks where is the Congress? That’s a fair question, but it’s a Republican Congress and that’s been the problem.

Jack Cafferty on CNN: You know Wolf, it seems like were having this discussion about this judge’s ruling sort of in the abstract, as if there’s no precedent for what the judge decided. The judge in effect upheld the ruling of the FISA court which says that ‘if you want to wiretap phones you need a warrant to do so’. The court was created by Congress in 1978, I think it was, and the law of the land says, "Get a warrant". The actions of the administration have ignored the law of the land in that regard. So it’s not a discussion in the abstract. It’s not hypothetical. There are laws on the books against what the administration is doing, and it’s about time someone said it out loud.

Cafferty: Success in Iraq?

Jack Cafferty did a great run down of all the points of "success" we have heard about in Iraq. From the toppling of the Saddam statue to the killing of Zarqawi, he hit them all then asked the most important question; "Do you think we need a new definition of what constitutes success in Iraq?" Video

BTW #1: Iraq doubles funding for oil imports! Iraq has doubled the money allocated for importing oil products in August and September to tackle the country's worst fuel shortage since Saddam Hussein’s 2003 ouster. Even though Iraq has the world's third-largest proven oil reserves, it is forced to depend on imports because of an acute shortage of refined products such as gasoline, kerosene and cooking gas. [Remember what Paul Wolfowitz, formerly Rumsfeld’s Deputy Secretary of Defense and the architect of the foreign policy known as the Bush Doctrine that resulted in the invasion of Iraq, told us back on 3/27/03: “There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years… We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.”]

BTW #2: Opium cultivation in Afghanistan has hit record levels -- up by more than 40 percent from 2005 -- despite hundreds of millions in counter-narcotics money, Western officials told The Associated Press. The increase could have serious repercussions for an already grave security situation, with drug lords joining the Taliban-led fight against Afghan and international forces.

LSB: I don’t know how many more times I can be surprised by any of this.

Andy Abandons Principles

Civil rights leader Andrew Young, who was hired by Wal-Mart to improve its public image, resigned from that post last night after telling an African-American newspaper that Jewish, Arab and Korean shop owners had “ripped off” urban communities for years, “selling us stale bread, and bad meat and wilted vegetables.”

In the interview, published yesterday in The Los Angeles Sentinel, a weekly, Mr. Young said that Wal-Mart “should” displace mom-and-pop stores in urban neighborhoods.

“You see those are the people who have been overcharging us,” he said of the owners of the small stores, “and they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they’ve ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it’s Arabs.”

LSB: Hey, Andy - "the Jews, then the Koreans and now the Arabs" rented high dollar spaces in inner city locations that Wal-Mart abandoned for the suburbs; these businesses purchased expensive insurance to protect themselves in the neighborhoods Wal-Mart did not deem suitable for their business; and other "big businesses" sold them that stale bread, bad meat and wilted vegetables, as they were independent and didn't have the buying power of - oh, I don't know - Wal-Mart. (Besides, when was the last time you were in a Wal-Mart and checked out their veggies. Wal-Mart holds on to their produce long after if should be discarded. Nasty!) So much for the principles you learned from MLK, Jr. I guess racism doesn't exist exclusively among older, white, male Republicans any more.

If the Gays Would Just Stop Being Gay, They Could Get Married

Here's a new analogy about gay marriage we hadn't heard before:
When the law permits automobiles to drive on highways but forbids bicycles from doing the same, that is not discrimination against people. A cyclist who gets off his bicycle and gets into a car can drive on the highway just like anyone else.
That comes from the Baltimore Sun's op-ed columnist Thomas Sowell. Are we wrong in equating Sowell's oversimplification with this parallel analogy: "A gay person who stops having relationships with men and gets on the bandwagon with the straights can get married just like anyone else." The column is worth reading — as a case study in flawed reasoning.

- David

Gay People Say the Darndest Things

Regarding the Wednesday evening episode of PROJECT RUNWAY: “Vincent's paper disaster was laughable. I suppose the producers think he gives good TV because he's so obnoxious? He doesn't. People hate him. They don't love to hate him, they just hate him. He'd be a great kindergarten teacher clown telemarketer bail bondsman White House spokesman, but a designer? No.”

- Kenneth Hill, Managing Editor, AOL Gay & Lesbian

LSB: No where, it seems, is the honorable principled respectable trustworthy difficult job of White House spokesman appreciated.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Fox News Airs Suggestion for 'Muslim-Only' Airport Line

Yesterday on Fox News' "Dayside," conservative radio host Mike Gallagher proposed that airports institute a "Muslims only" line for airport travelers during a segment Tuesday on racial profiling. From Newshounds, who "watch FOX so you don't have to":

"Dayside" co-host Juliet Huddy set up the debate by noting that all terrorists have been Muslim extremists. [Fellow co-host Mike] Jerrick claimed that some people oppose racial profiling as "politically incorrect."

"It's not just a matter of political correctness, please," responded [constitutional lawyer Michael] Gross. "It's illegal, it's unconstitutional, unethical, immoral, it shouldn't be done. We do not in this country prejudge a person based upon their race, creed, color, country of national origin and it's wrong to do so and it addition it's not effective. It doesn't work. It actually perpetuates the problem. That is, it separates us."

Gallagher responded that Gross's statements were "absolutely absurd" and claimed that the Traffic Safety Administration is aggressively targeting uniformed members of the military. "Let's have a Muslim-only line," Gallagher said, as Gross started to talk.

Jerrick asked Gallagher to repeat what he said.

"It's time to have a Muslims check-point line in America's airports and have Muslims be scrutinized. You better believe it, it's time," Gallagher said, garnering tepid audience applause.

LSB: Maybe we should create several specials lines to keep the traffic flowing: let's give the Asians a special line where they can buy film as they wait to be screened; African-Americans need a special line, too, because that shuffle they do always slows down the line; but the Hispanics don't really need a line - they can just jump the barricades (like they do at the border) and use any of the lines.

Now that I think about it, I'm not sure a separate check-in line at the airport for Muslims is such a good idea. It's probably better just to ban Muslims from airports all together... or allow no travel... maybe we should provide them special housing, something where we might be able to monitor their every move... and perhaps we should consider sterilizing their women (or any girl that reaches age 12) in order to limit the number of future terrorists... and for those that are Muslim but don't look Arabic, let's have them wear a red crescent on the outside of their clothes (unless they're gay Muslims, then they should wear a pink crescent)...

Pull your head out of your ass, Gallagher! Profiling is a slippery slope to other kinds of dangerous and racist behaviors. It is Un-American!

Dolores Kesterson Meets the President

Cindy Sheehan is not the only Gold Star mom who felt disrespected after a visit with George W. Bush. Dolores Kesterson, whose son Erik was killed in Iraq in November of 2003, was among several military families who last year were invited to meet with Bush as a group. Each family was allotted ten minutes with the president, but because she is divorced from her husband, Dolores asked to speak with Bush one-on-one.

Dolores reports exclusively for U.S. Tour of Duty that she waited alone in a small partitioned area, wondering if her request would be granted, before a Bush aide suddenly announced, "The president will now see you." As the commander in chief strode briskly toward her, it seemed to Dolores that he was trying to intimidate her. "He came marching in and got right in my face...eyeball to eyeball, and said, 'I'm George Bush, the president of the United States, and I understand you have something to say to me in private.'"

Dolores tried to give Bush a sense of what type of person Erik had been. She described her son as a "comedian" whose favorite saying was, "Life is good." The president replied, "How do you know his life would have been good?"

Dolores was shocked by Bush's eagerness to question the value of her son's life. She told the president, "Nobody wants to die."

Before he concluded their meeting, Bush proclaimed to Dolores, "We won't know in our lifetime whether or not Iraq was a success."

- Jeff Norman, August 11, 2005

LSB: Our president - what a (cl)ass act!

President Bush miffed that Iraqis aren't thanking him enough

New York Times headline: "Bush Said to Be Frustrated by Level of Public Support in Iraq."

Apparently the President met with some leading Iraq and Middle East scholars and informed them that he's "frustrated that the new Iraqi government - and the Iraqi people - have not shown greater public support for the American mission." Further, he was reportedly "puzzled" as to how recent anti-American protests could draw so many people.

Everybody knows he's out of touch, but wow. Just... wow!

Why is the Department of Homeland Security involved in the JonBenet Ramsey case?

The agency meant to fight the terrorists has nothing better to do than work on the JonBenet Ramsey case?
ABC News: John Mark Karr, 41, will be taken within the week to Colorado, where he will face charges of first degree murder, kidnapping and child sexual assault, Ann Hurst of the Department of Homeland Security told a news conference in Bangkok.
Had Osama killed a child beauty queen instead of 3,000 people maybe we could have gotten the Bush administration to actually devote a little effort to finding him too.

LSB: By the way, where IS Osama?

White House Using Liquid Explosive Detector it Refused to Install at US Airports

Uh oh.
Since the early 1990s, AS&E has made SmartCheck, a $50,000 low-intensity X-ray scanner that can spot a bottle of organic compounds in a passenger's pocket.

But is the liquid an explosive, or a batch of baby formula? Ahura says its $30,000 handheld laser scanner, the First Defender, can answer the question. The device can "see" through glass or plastic bottles and identify any of 2,500 different chemical compounds in about 15 seconds. The FBI and New York City police already use the Ahura system, which went on sale about a year ago.

Joe Reiss, AS&E's vice president of marketing, said his company's SmartCheck systems are used at the White House and the US Supreme Court. But they're not widely used in airport security. TSA agreed last year to conduct tests of the system. But Reiss said those tests had not yet begun.
And just let the White House tell us that these systems aren't really proven technology. Then why is the White House [LSB: and the Supreme Court] using liquid explosive detective systems at all? Bush had the chance to save American lives and chose his own first.
But after this month's foiled terrorist plot to smuggle liquid explosives aboard jumbo jets, the government may not have the luxury to wait. Charles Slepian , founder of the Foreseeable Risk Analysis Center, a transportation security firm in New York, said that technology for detecting explosives in carry-on bags is well understood and readily available, but the US Department of Homeland Security is reluctant to spend the large sums needed to deploy it at hundreds of airports.

"Now they're embarrassed because they have to say that we have nothing in place," said Slepian. "Shame on us. We've had the science for years."
Why? Because Bush and the Republicans who control Congress didn't give Homeland Security enough money.
The TSA has not outfitted airports with the devices, in part, because officials have to prioritize where they spend limited dollars, according to Frank Cilluffo, former special assistant to President Bush for homeland security...
We had money for tax cuts, lots of them. $300 billion for the Iraq war, and counting. But not enough to stop terrorists from blowing up US commercial airliners when we knew about this threat ten years ago.

UPDATE: This is yet another Democratic opportunity, but will they take it? George Bush wants to talk terror and scare the hell out of people. Okay, let's scare the hell out of people - by talking, as Bill Clinton noted yesterday, about just how unsafe we really are because George Bush dropped the ball. The Republicans called Congress back into session for Terri Schiavo, let them do it for the safety of the entire flying public. And then let's have a frank and open and REALLY SCARY discussion about just how vulnerable George Bush, Dick Cheney and the Republicans have left us.

- John Aravosis

Paula Jones' case could force Cheney, Scooter and Karl to testify in Plame's case

Remember Paula Jones? Remember how Pres. Clinton was forced to testify? ("...depends on what your definition of is is...") This time around could be more fun!

Cotchett, who took over as trial counsel in Plame's case on Tuesday, said legal precedent for whether Cheney and the others could claim legal immunity in the case comes, in part, from Paula Jones' sexual harassment case against Clinton.

In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court said in a unanimous ruling that neither Clinton "or any other official has an immunity that extends beyond the scope of any action taken in an official capacity."

In order to be dismissed from the case or avoid testifying, Cotchett said, lawyers for Cheney and the other men would have to argue that they were acting on government business if they are found to have leaked Plame's name to the media.

Federal law makes it a crime to knowingly reveal the identity of a covert agent.

Sounds like Dick and Karl may be in a bit of a legal conundrum here. Either they testify or they admit that outing an undercover CIA agent was done in their official capacities as members of the Bush White House. If they admit that, doesn't that mean Bush will fire them?

The right-wingers sure loved the Supreme Court decision when it worked against Clinton.

LSB: Payback’s a bitch, ain’t it boys?

Federal judge rules Bush domestic spy program is unconstitutional, orders it stopped

A federal judge on Thursday ruled that the U.S. government's domestic eavesdropping program is unconstitutional and ordered it ended immediately.

The Justice Department said it would appeal the ruling, saying the program was "a critical tool that ensures we have in place an early warning system to detect and prevent a terrorist attack."

In a 44-page memorandum and order, U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, - who is based in Detroit, Michigan - struck down the National Security Agency's program, which she said violates the rights to free speech and privacy.

The defendants "are permanently enjoined from directly or indirectly utilizing the Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) in any way, including, but not limited to, conducting warrantless wiretaps of telephone and Internet communications, in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and Title III," she wrote.

She further declared that the program "violates the separation of powers doctrine, the Administrative Procedures Act, the First and Fourth amendments to the United States Constitution, the FISA and Title III."

She went on to say that "the president of the United States ... has undisputedly violated the Fourth in failing to procure judicial orders."

LSB: It is about time someone in the Judiciary got their act together. But Judge Taylor better watch out -- the party of 'Fear and Smear' is gonna rake her over the coals. The rest of us should get our boots out, as the Bushies are gonna start shoveling shit at us fast and furious at any minute!

Quick Notes

Take if off, Ladies – Take it all off!: U.S. authorities are advising women not to wear gel bras on airplanes as information developed in the foiled London plot points to an expanding role for women in smuggling explosives on to an aircraft. John Amato wonders: “How many more terror alerts will it take before we’ll all be flying nekkid?”

LSB: Damn! What about all that gel in fake breasts? Can you imagine the havoc at LAX!

Stand By Your Man – Not!: The wife of former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski has filed for divorce. With her husband behind bars on a grand larceny and securities fraud conviction, Mrs. Kozlowski says her marriage to Mr. Kozlowski is "irretrievably broken."

LSB: BITCH! The man spends $2 million of company funds on your 40th birthday party – including having an ice sculpture of Michelangelo's David carved and hiring a waiter to pour Stoli vodka into the back of the sculpture’s so it comes out his penis – and you can’t wait a lousy 25 years for him to come back to you?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Bye Bye Bipartisanship

I have long endorsed the political strategy of supporting both GLBT friendly Democrats and Republicans. For pragmatic reasons, it made sense not to put all of our eggs in one basket. However, that was before the GOP leadership was hijacked by right wing basket cases. Sadly, I think it is time for the GLBT movement to reassess the political landscape and consider saying goodbye to bipartisanship.

The defenders of the status quo will claim that loyalty is an important commodity in politics and this is why we must continue to back friendly Republicans. How can we abandon those who voted with us, they ask?

This circular reasoning reminds me of the "cut and run" argument for keeping our troops in Iraq. In essence, we should continue to adhere to a failed plan and bleed because we have promised loyalty to a situation that might not be salvageable. And, in my estimation, the Republican Party's hostility towards gay people is not something that can easily be fixed. The entire party will have to collapse and remake itself into an entity that does not exploit fear and prejudice before GLBT people can return.

While most Republicans are not anti-gay, the party is still the undeniable home for most haters and homophobes. Whether it is placing anti-marriage measures on the ballot, the Southern Strategy that fanned the flames of racial dissension or igniting fear of immigrants, the GOP has long pandered to bigots and theocrats and still considers them important constituencies. Fear is the commodity in which the Republican Party profits and until they are soundly crushed, they will win elections on the backs of GLBT families.

For those that say we must be loyal to supportive Republicans, I must question how loyal these officials are to us. These "friendly" candidates get our checks as we put out our necks for their reelection. Our reward for such allegiance is the continued reign of Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate majority Leader Bill Frist. I'm no salesman, but this doesn't sound like a good deal.

Republican members of Congress in Blue states ought to be strongly urged to become Democrats or at least Independents if they want the support of GLBT organizations. Environmental and Pro-Choice groups ought to take the same principled stand, unless they think oil executives setting our energy policy and the ascension of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court have helped their respective causes.

I want to be clear that I still feel that bipartisanship is the best long-term plan. There is no substitute for broad based support that ensures less volatility with each election cycle. However, such a cross-aisle coalition is a fantasy until the GOP becomes a mainstream party that does not prosper by sowing the sulfur seeds of division. When Republicans finally leave the thrall of Neo Puritan preachers, the GLBT community can again responsibly resume bipartisanship.

Moderate Republicans have more to gain than anyone by temporarily abandoning the GOP. The quicker the Pat Robertson/James Dobson crowd is expunged and sent back into the woodwork, the sooner moderates can step-in to reclaim their party.

Indeed, the old saw for bipartisanship was that the crusty old fashioned Congressional members of the GOP just needed to meet gay people and be educated on our issues. Once this occurred, they would abandon their hostility and vote for equality.

Well, guess what? Gay people have been visible now for more than thirty years. These conservatives have had ample opportunity to meet and greet gay lobbyists in their Capitol Hill offices. Yes, they have seen us in our finely tailored suits and geeky bow ties, yet they still cynically tie us to a radical agenda. This can no longer be excused as ignorance, nor explained as anything but malice.

The enlightenment our community had banked on did not occur. The only epiphany GOP leaders had upon hearing our heartfelt personal stories was that they could win elections by demonizing us. They care not how many families are destroyed or how many gay youth commit suicide because of their dehumanizing rhetoric.

Bipartisanship looks good on paper, but the disastrous consequences that have come from this strategy cannot be papered over. If we help give Republicans a slim majority by endorsing and helping to reelect our so-called friends, the reception to our agenda on Capitol Hill will continue to be quite unfriendly.

- Wayne Besen, Executive Director, Truth Wins Out

LSB: Like many gay people, I've never understood the concept of Log Cabin Republicans. Why would anyone support an organization that doesn't want you, that actively works against suppressing your rights, that takes your money and kicks you to the curb? I, too, often have some conservative inclinations (alright, maybe not that many), and I often disagree with the Democratic leadership. Neither party is perfect and there are dogs in each, but why give your support to a group that so openly opposes you?

Culture of Nations

New York Times columnist David Brooks had an interesting column that discussed how certain cultures lead to corruption. According to his column:

"Between 1997 and 2002, the U.N. Mission of Kuwait picked up 246 parking violations per diplomat. Diplomats from Egypt, Chad, Sudan Mozambique, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Syria also committed huge numbers of violations. Meanwhile, not a single parking violation by a Swedish diplomat was recorded. Nor were there any
by diplomats from Denmark, Japan, Israel, Norway or Canada."

Notice the countries that have the most parking violations also violate human rights - especially those of gay people. Just like with parking tickets, the success of nations can be determined by the way gay citizens are treated. For those that say the acceptance of homosexuality brings down civilizations, all evidence indicates that the opposite is true.

- Wayne Besen, Executive Director, Truth Wins Out

LSB: I don't think there is any particular connection between the acceptance or non-acceptance of homosexuality and either the rise or decline of civilization; what I do find instructive is that those countries where the rule of law is respected are the same countries that have the fewest human rights violations. No parking violations = no human rights violations.

Bush Seeks Exit Strategy at Mapquest

Hoping to reassure voters before the midterm elections that he is actively looking for a way to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq, President George W. Bush said today that he has been looking for an exit strategy at the popular Internet site

By announcing that he was relying on Mapquest to navigate the United States’ exit from an apparent quagmire in Iraq, the president was running the risk of making his administration appear as if it had run out of ideas of its own.

But in a White House press briefing this morning, Mr. Bush defended his use of what he called “the Internets,” adding that he was also hoping to find an international peacekeeping force for Lebanon at Craigslist.

The president said that he began his search at Mapquest by typing in “Iraq” as the starting location and “United States of America” as the ending location.

He acknowledged that the process of finding an exit strategy at the Mapquest site was complicated by the fact that many of the streets that Mapquest displays for Iraq have not existed since the United States began bombing the country in 2003.

Ultimately, Mr. Bush said, the search for an exit strategy at Mapquest yielded mixed results: “The good news is that I found the most direct route from Iraq to the U.S. The bad news is that the estimated travel time is 20 years.”

- Andy Borowitz

Feel Safer?

Click here for the video. (Blog is quirky about adding pics and video - they start to blink.)

AP Exposes ‘Reverse Robin Hood’ Degenerates

WASHINGTON (AP) —The federal program that provides legal help to poor Americans turns away half of its applicants for lack of resources. But that hasn’t stopped its executives from lavishing expensive meals, chauffeur-driven cars and foreign trips on themselves.

Agency documents obtained by The Associated Press detail the luxuries that executives of the Legal Services Corp. have given themselves with federal money — from $14 “Death by Chocolate” desserts to $400 chauffeured rides to locations within cab distance of their offices.

The government-funded corporation also has a spacious headquarters in Washington’s tony Georgetown district — with views of the Potomac River and a rent significantly higher than other tenants in the same building.

And board members wrote themselves a policy that doubled the amount they could claim for meals compared with their staff.

The program’s clients were upset when told of the spending.

Bush and Cheney: Not Part of the Conversation Anymore, Just Like They Want

For so long, George Bush and Dick Cheney have isolated themselves like paranoid neighbors in their backyard bomb shelter, telling the clawing outsiders they don't have enough food or air for everyone. They have spoken, for the vast part of the last five years, only to audiences that are handpicked by lackeys or screened at the events themselves (and this doesn't include those who get to pay for the "privilege" at fundraisers). If you even get into a Bush or Cheney speech with a dissenting or bumper sticker, you will get the bum's rush. And that's been quite the success.

They've treated over half the country like parents who ignore their children, only breaking the silence to discipline the kids when they knock a vase over or refuse to eat their peas, and who are surprised when the kids get older and don't give a shit what their parents have to say. Because right now, when Bush and Cheney speak, they're only talking to thirty percent or so of the country, with the rest of the nation either saying, "Fuck them" or wondering, "Hey, who's the old guys and why are they so mad?"

- Rude One

Hey, Sen. Allen - The Kid has a Name

S.R. Sidarth, a senior at the University of Virginia, had been trailing Sen. George Allen (R-VA) with a video camera to document his travels and speeches for the Jim Webb (D) campaign. During a campaign speech Friday in Breaks, Virginia, near the Kentucky border, Allen singled out Sidarth and called him a word that sounded like "Macaca."

"Lets give a welcome to Macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia," said Allen, who then began talking about the "war on terror."

In an interview, Sidarth said he suspects Allen singled him out because he was the only non-white face in the audience, which he estimated included about 100 Republican supporters.

If spelled M-a-c-a-c-a, the term refers to a species of monkeys in the Eastern Hemisphere. "Is he saying Sidarth is a monkey?" [Webb spokesperson Kristian Denny] Todd asked. The word M-a-k-a-k-a refers to a town in South Africa.

"The kid has a name. This is trying to demean him, to minimize him as a person," Todd said.

Federal Judge OKs Law Signed by Bush Even Though the House Never Voted on It

Last Friday, Federal District Judge John D. Bates conducted yet another feeble judicial capitulation to the Bush Administration when he ruled that it was acceptable for the president to sign a bill that had not been passed by Congress.

As many BuzzFlash readers may recall, a clerical error created a $2 billion discrepancy between two versions of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which each respectively passed the House and Senate by the slimmest of margins. The mistake was quickly identified, but Bush rushed to sign the stingier copy - which cut two years off of Medicare coverage for certain medical equipment - despite being warned in advance that the bill he was about to approve had only been voted on by one half of Congress.

As we have previously noted about this story, the Constitution is pretty clear on how a bill becomes a law, and that's not it. If a teenager wrote a paper advocating this process in civics class, he or she would receive a failing grade. Nevertheless, Bush's lawyers are fervently trying to defend this fatuity instead of simply admitting for once that the president messed up.

Hey, when you've gone through the trouble of putting jurists like Judge Bates on the bench, why not?


HERSH: Cheney/Bush gave Israel Greenlight in Lebanon - EARLIER THIS SUMMER

In a new article in the New Yorker, Seymour Hersh, of Abu Ghraib fame, claims that the Bush administration gave Israel the green light to attack Lebanon earlier in the summer:

A Pentagon consultant said that the Bush White House "has been agitating for some time to find a reason for a preemptive blow against Hezbollah." He added, "It was our intent to have Hezbollah diminished, and now we have someone else doing it." (As this article went to press, the United Nations Security Council passed a ceasefire resolution, although it was unclear if it would change the situation on the ground.)...

Earlier this summer, before the Hezbolla kidnappings, the U.S. government consultant said, several Israeli officials visited Washington separately, "to get a green light for the bombing operation and to find out how much the United States would bear." The consultant added, "Israel began with Cheney. It wanted to be sure that it had his support and the support of his office and the Middle East desk of the National Security Council." After that, "persuading Bush was never a problem, and Condi Rice was on board," the consultant said.

See Hersh on CNN.

Hersh eludes to the reaction to this article in the Middle East. Will the American press actually understand how important the implications of this revelation are to our situation in Iraq? Will they even ask the President and his people for honest answers? With a civil war breaking out in Iraq, an Arab country we occupy, did we actually encourage Israel to ferment the anti-Israeli / anti-Western flames in the Arab world? Who could possibly think that was a good idea and why are they still running this country?Feel safer yet?

- Rob in Baltimore