Friday, April 28, 2006

A secret is something you tell someone else

I am not one of the 40 million or more people worldwide who has read the book "The Da Vinci Code" but I may get around to seeing the movie when it hits cable. The author Dan Brown was accused of stealing the idea from another book and his publishing company was sued in England. This was another big trial covered by the media and in the end the judge ruled that there was no plagarism and the case was decided in favor of the The Da Vinci Code publisher. End of story? Of course not.

Looking more like America with its "look at me" and "hey I can piggy-back onto this media circus" attitude the British judge Jutice Peter Smith thought he was being clever by embedding his own little code and a mini-message in the the text of his decision. This wasn't Enigma (solved) or Purple (solved) or A Treasure's Trove (solved) or Kryptos (not solved) but a schoolboy's "code" that took about two minutes to break. The judge even emailed people and said, "hey, look for my coded message and don't forget to look at this paragraph for more clues." It's so ridiculous that of course the world-wide media made that a story too. It's in the New York Times and the Today show. It's everywhere. Must be a slow news day, week, month and year. I guess you can't count on blond high school girls to go missing from caribbean islands every week.

No doubt you'll see and hear more from Judge Peter Smith in the future. I have no doubt that his agent is already working on replacing Judge Judy or the like and his publicist is writing the press release as I blog. Remember it's never just about the plaintiff or defendants or justice. It's always about how the lawyers, judges, jurors, news people, reporters and legal commentators can parlay the case into a full-time gig or a big payday for themselves. It's all about style and not substance anymore. Sounds a lot like politics.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Republican solution to gas prices? Bribery.

The Republicans who believe bribery is a normal and integral part of government has come forward with their solution to high gas prices. The "party of ideas" they so like to claim is taking a page out of the Jack Abramoff book of payoffs and has proposed a $100 bribe to taxpayers to help offset the high energy prices. It will only offset maybe one or two tanks of gas and no doubt it's taxable just like the $300 tax rebate payoff bribe paid to taxpayers a few years ago. (In fact it wasn't a tax rebate but a pre-payment of your refund and it was done to divert attention to the huge tax cuts for the top 1% of taxpayers who get 43% of the Bush tax cuts.) When faced with a problem the Republicans have two answers - throw money we don't have at the problem and use the money as bribes.

To be fair they have also added drilling in ANWR to get what at most might add one million extra barrels of oil a day. America uses over 20 million barrels a day so within a few years ANWR oil, even if they are right on output, would only represent maybe 3% or less of our oil needs. And if all those happy scenarios the Republicans sold about Iraq had come true we would already have an extra million barrels a day flowing out of the middle east. But either way trying to find an extra million or two barrels a day isn't going to solve the problem long-term. China and India are competing for oil supplies and no doubt other developing countries will continue to develop and have their own oil needs. Instead of giving a $100 to each taxpayer why not take that money and announce funding of alternative energy research grants? Why not use the bribes Republicans want to slip Americans to send kids to college and graduate schools to become scientists and engineers in a Energy Corps. modelled after the Peace Corps.? Why not? Because the Republicans who claim "America is addicted to oil" as W said at this year's State of the Union are really addicted to oil companies. ExxonMobil made $93,000,000 in net profit on every day over the last three months. You might get $100. Wonder how much Republican campaigns get from big oil? Just enough to keep you and America addicted to oil.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Enron nation...continued

A few days ago I blogged about Enron's former CEO Jeffrey Skilling testifying at his criminal trial. Skilling claimed not that he didn't know about any fraud but that there wasn't any fraud period. Sounded a lot like the Bush administration telling people "move on, nothing to see here" while the fireworks factory explodes behind them ala The Naked Gun. Now Ken ("Kenny-boy") Lay has added the bookend to the argument that we really live in an Enron nation.

Lay has had his chance at the same criminal trial to explain how Enron imploded and he knows exactly what brought his company down - the press. Lay claims that Enron was a sound company until three articles in the Wall Street Journal created investor anxiety and started a classic "run on the bank." So once again it's the media, the press that really is to blame. The only thing missing here is a claim it was the "liberal" media who "hates America" or "is against capitalism" that ran the stories. The stories turned out to be true and had the media given more scrutiny earlier about how this company was really making so much money maybe people would have avoided the financial ruin they live with today.

So back to the Dear Leader better known as "The Decider." Recently he and his Decidee Donald Rumsfeld accused the media of playing into the hands of terrorists by being manipulated by their acts of violence and propaganda. This echoes the Republicans who know that Iraq is going end badly and they are setting up who lost Iraq - the media of course. If they only showed the "good" stories from Iraq things would be better. As if seven car bombs exploding in say Miami or Chicago wouldn't get a lot of coverage. Heck when an Amtrak train derails in Baltimore but one Chicagoan is killed on it it dominates local news here. How about dozens of bodies bound and executed showing up everyday in the suburbs here. Think that would get some press? When asked about the "good" news stories playing on Faux News Tony Blankley stared ahead blankly.

So stop wasting your time reading about who is to blame for Iraq or Enron. In this new Enron nation of ours it's the press. If it weren't for the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times Enron would still be in business and Iraq would be opening Baghdad Disney.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Republican Party - The Party of Liars

There really are so many examples of lying by this administration and the Republican party to prove the point that the Republican party is the party of liars but I find just focusing on one sums it up nicely. After Republican Congressman Randall "Duke" Cunningham pled guilty for taking over $2.5 million in bribes to sell his office and federal contracts to defense contractors a race to fill the seat in the California district is going on. Democratic candidate Francine Busby is finding out firsthand how the well-oiled slime machine built by Karl Rove works.

On Friday, the National Rebuplican Congressional Committee (NRCC) started airing a television spot accusing Busby of praising a Cardiff, Calif., schoolteacher accused of trying to obtain child pornography. In the ad, the announcer maintains that “Busby even praised a teacher reported to have child porn, saying she was always willing to lend a hand. That’s dangerous. Liberal Francine Busby. Poor management. Poor judgment. Dangerous.”

The NRCC attributes Busby’s praise for the teacher, who was under investigation by the FBI for possessing child porn, to a statement Busby made to The San Diego Union-Tribune on April 29, 2004, while serving on the Cardiff School District board. “He is a teacher who put in a lot of extra time. He was always willing to lend a hand. I was shocked at the investigation,” Busby told the paper. So where in that quote is there praise for a child-pornographer? No idea. This is the "he was always very quiet" quote you hear after a serial killer is arrested next door. Does that mean the neighbor watching John Wayne Gacy get dragged off in handcuffs supports mass murder? That's probably the next NRCC ad coming Francine brace yourself.

Busby said she was shocked at the investigation. She didn't say "I support the child-pornographer!" But no matter to the party of liars. At least they refer to an actual quote, even if they intentionally butchered it beyond reality, rather than just make one up which is another favorite tool in Rove Inc's toolbox.

NRCC spokesman Jonathan Collegio says the incident was part of a pattern of Busby’s mismanagement of the school district. “The ad shows that Busby was a poor manager and had poor judgment to the point of being dangerous,” he said.

No. The ad shows how far we are from decent people running the country. The ad shows that Republicans will lie constantly, relentlessly and without conscience to keep themselves in power because that's all they respect. Certainly not the truth or decency or fair elections. They are simply the party of liars. There was a time when that actually meant something, shame. Now it only means a path to power. How sad.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Ice Cream and Idiots

Last night my wife, a.k.a. Cranky's Wife, wanted some Ben & Jerry's Rocky Road ice cream. There is a Ben & Jerry's in our suburb so we drove there after dinner. It was closed. And not just closed for the night, gone. (We've gone out to dinner more than once only to find the restaurant is suddenly out of business.) Around the corner Baskin-Robbins 31 Flavors closed months ago and the only other ice cream shop, Cold Stone Creamery was closed, I'm assuming just for the night. After Cranky's Wife told me "they don't sell Ben & Jerry's Rocky Road in the grocery store" she settled for some other Ben & Jerry's store bought selection. Chunky Monkey? Cherry Garcia? Mofo Tofu? No idea. I didn't really pay attention at that point.

Whatever she ended up getting it wasn't a political faux pas like one of the new flavors from Ben & Jerry's. The company has apologized for calling a new flavor "Black & Tan" -- the nickname of a notoriously violent British militia that operated during Ireland's war of independence. The Black and Tans, so-called because of their two-tone uniforms, were recruited in the early 1920s to bolster the ranks of the police force in Ireland as anti-British sentiment grew. They quickly gained a reputation for brutality and mention of the militia still arouses strong feelings in Ireland.

The ice cream, available only in the United States, is based on an ale and stout drink of the same name. "Any reference on our part to the British Army unit was absolutely unintentional and no ill-will was ever intended," said a Ben & Jerry's spokesman. "Ben & Jerry's was built on the philosophies of peace and love," he added. When asked about rumors of a new flavor thought to be called Al Qaeda Gelaeda the spokesman had no comment.

I wonder if the genius who didn't do basic research on the name of "Black & Tan" was the same idiot who, when introducing the national anthem of China on the lawn of the White House for the China's visiting President Hu Jintao announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, the national anthem of the Republic of China." Of course, China is called the People's Republic of China. Taiwan is called the Republic of China. Bet when W goes to Beijing they announce the national anthem for the Confederate States of Americas.

With all these idiots running things is there little wonder my wife can't get a scoop of ice cream on a Sunday night?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Evidence of God on the way

The planets had to be in alignment on this one. First you had to have Karl Rove play his political payback game with someone, Valerie Plame, who is by law protected from such political payback games. Then you had to have the CIA get so pissed off they asked the Justice Department for a formal investigation into the outing of Plame and the front company Brewster Jennings. Then you had to have the then Attorney General John Ashcroft have a conflict of interest, he was a client of Rove's when Ashcroft lost a U.S. Senate race against a dead man, and recuse himself from the case. Then you had to have Ashcroft appoint a Republican Special Prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, who is completely professional, apolitical, tough, fair, relentless, and who has shown he will follow the evidence no matter where it leads or who should get indicted. (Note the recent conviction of former Republican Illinois Governor George Ryan on 22 counts of fraud and conspiracy.) Add to this political harmonic convergence that Rove and Libby thought they were untouchable and smarter than the FBI agents and prosecutors much lower down on the federal totem pole. Oops. Sorry Official A (a.k.a. Karl Rove) I think you went a bridge too far.

There was anticipation before Scooter Libby got indicted that Rove was going to get one too. It didn't happen then. It looks much more likely now. Take a look at the rundown MSNBC gave it recently and see if it doesn't seem pretty clear where Fitzgerald is going. The big alert to me is that in court filings Fitzgerald does not intend to call Rove as a witness in the Libby case. Since Rove has already testified numerous times before the grand jury he really can't take the Fifth Amendment at Libby's trial. Even if Rove did, the government can read his prior testimony into evidence from transcripts after showing the jury he feels he is in criminal jeopardy and doesn't want to talk. What it means is that if Rove isn't a witness it's because he is goin to be a defendant. Moreover, as MSNBC noted, once you are referred to as "Official A" in court filing from the special prosecutor's office you will eventually get indicted.

So meet Official A, better known as Karl Rove. And evidence that God really exists and is working here among us on earth is probably only one indictment filing away.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

W, CEO President...of Enron nation

Jeffrey Skilling, the former CEO of Enron and currently on trial for fraud, has a lot in common with President George ("the decider") Bush. They both live in a fantasy world. Skilling, brother of Chicago weatherman Tom Skilling, faces 28 counts of fraud, conspiracy and insider trading for his actions while leading Enron. In a defense strategy that takes your breath away Skilling doesn't argue that he didn't know about the fraud at Enron, he claims there was none. Sound familiar? It's not a question of how to correct the problems of the Iraq war, according to W and his gang that can't shoot straight there are none. If Jeffy-boy is acquitted of all charges look for him to be named the next Treasury Secretary. He'll fit right in.

Whether it's the size of the national debt, how the war has been handled, Rumsfeld's record, you name it and it's not a question that W didn't know about any problems it's that the problems don't exist. That's a quick way to clear your desk in time for a bike ride or five-week vacation. Good thing W isn't your doctor or plumber or mechanic. He's just the leader, pardon me, the decider of the free world and he's decided there aren't any problems that tax cuts and more prayer can't solve. That is if there were any problems which there aren't. He's not making lemonade out of lemons because lemons don't exist in W's world.

So the next time you read about some "problem" like civil war in Iraq or oil prices going to $100, don't worry. I have it on very good authority that those problems don't really exist. If they did they might actually have to be addressed and solved. It's much easier to be the CEO President of Enron nation.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Mini Me moves Dr. Evil and fires Scott Evil

"It bothers me a little bit. I think we look conservative to people who are not... I knew the rap on us from Day One was going to be that we were a right-wing news outlet."

--Fox News Anchor Brit Hume

FOX News' Tony Snow Among Possible White House Spokesman Candidates

--Headline on Fox after resignation of Scott McClellan announced.

The one thing Faux News is conservative with is the truth. Another would be news judgement. How else to explain the endless coverage on Natalie Holloway and now the Duke University rape case. And now after Scott McClellan leaves without a shred of his reputation left the White House turns to it's bullpen of propagandists and asks Tony Snow to step up to the podium to chant as a mantra, "We don't comment on an ongoing investigation." Talking Points Memo asks, "Isn't that more like an interdepartmental transfer than a job change?" And if he doesn't want the job, I'm sure Brit Hume or some other lapel flag-wearing faux patriot will take the job. But remember they aren't a conservative or right-wing network.

What amazes me isn't that Faux News is a division of the Republican party it's that people actually deny that it is. It has helped turn news coverage into watching a wrestling match. It's hard to really learn anything from Faux News other than Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Lielly and their ilk all have died and gone to heaven. Where else could such rabid venom-spewing hate-mongers get rich and famous? Where else could Cheney get a Larry King-like interview after shooting a man in the face? Where else could the Cynthia McKinney story get more prominent coverage than W authorizing Libby to leak parts of the National Intelligence Estimate to the New York Times? I just wonder if The White House has to list Faux News as a dependent on their tax forms.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Check this out - video and all. Air Force One spray painted or "tagged" with graffiti. Heckuva job there with security. If Air Force One isn't secure what is?

LATE, LATE UPDATE: Now (April 23, 2006) it turns out it's just a hoax. A good one though. They rented a 747 and painted it like Air Force One.

What can't Bush do?

Simple question: What can't Bush do? We know he can arrest and imprison citizens indefinitely as "enemy combatants." We know he can tap your phones without a warrant. We know he can go to war without a formal congressional declaration of war. We know he can sign laws and a "presidential signing statement" can state, "you know that law I just signed, like the McCain torture ban? It doesn't really apply to me." We know he can order torture as long as you don't call it torture. So the question remains: what can't he do?

Can he attack Iran without any congressional vote? Does he need another authorization to use military force like the one he got for Iraq? Read this brilliant post (as usual) by Glenn Greenwald and you'll wonder or be convinced we don't really live in a separation of powers, checks and balances constitutional democracy.

It comes down to this - does any of the blogging, or reporting or editorials or protests or petitions or vigils or even congressional action or inaction mean anything anymore to the one and only "decider" living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? I'm voting no which may be the only vote I make that counts or is counted anymore.

BONUS UPDATE: My free iPod finally came by way of Los Angeles but it is in my hands now. Unfortunately there seems to be some bug as there is some issue between iPhoto and iTunes and loading just the photo album you want doesn't seem to work. Others have this issue per their posts on the Apple support discussion board. Hopefully they will fix it but at least I can listen to my nano even it if is two months late.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Aruba more important than Tehran?

Which is a bigger story, the disappearance and presumed murder of Natalie Holloway or oil over $70 a barrel? Apparently to MSNBC oil is the story you read after the update in the Holloway case. On their homepage, the arrest in the Holloway case is listed higher on the bulletpoints list than the "Roots of the immigration crisis" and "Oil tops $70." What a sad commentary on our society where the death of one teenager, a tragedy for her family and friends to be sure, gets as much or more news coverage as immigration and oil prices.

Faux News is practically the Natalie Holloway channel while having no full-time reporters in Iraq chasing down all those good news stories they lament the rest of the media aren't covering. They have covered the Holloway case relentlessly for the past year. (Al Franken has commented that if she had disappeared in Iraq Faux News wouldn't have covered it because it wouldn't have been a "good news" story.) But back to MSNBC. The new arrest is listed as a top story. How is this a top story? A high school girl getting murdered is indeed a tragedy but it's not worldwide news. Maybe if Scooter Libby or Karl Rove killed her then yes it's a big story, but not now.

Right now there are kidnappings and murders going on in all fifty states and while it is sickeningly routine they are not national or worldwide news. Oil prices and their impact on the worldwide economy deserves more coverage than an arrest in Aruba. The latest goings on with diplomacy or war plans with Iran deserves more coverage than of the jailing of "G.V.C." on the tiny Dutch island. There were more "important" stories covered like Prince Albert of Monaco reaching the North Pole and Brad Pitt and Anjelina Jolie considering a Namibian name for their baby. I guess we all know W's decision on Iran already it's Branjelina's baby's name we really care about.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Rush Limbaugh is a big, fat idiot...

And his listeners are morons. (In my opinion). Or are they idiots? I can't remember which is pegged at having a lower IQ but whichever is lowest, that's them.

On Thusday, April 13, 2006 I was driving around listening to AM radio. I though, "Oh Rush is on now I'll listen and see how quickly he lies or deceives his listeners. I had him on for maybe the last five minutes of the show and heard one caller who proved in that short time what a scummy, deceitful liar (in my opinion) Rush is and what a bunch of f-ing idiots his dittohead listners are.

The caller was a truck driver and told Rush that he was in a truck stop eating with about 15 other truck drivers when another driver came in. The guy, the caller said, ordered and began "ranting and raving" about seeing stuff about Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands and meeting with Saddam Hussein (yes that Rumsfeld and that Hussein) in 1983. "Rush," the moron dittohead told the big, fat, idiot, "we told him to be quiet and stop saying these ridiculous things. Rush, he kept saying it was on the internet it must be true." The moron continued, "Rush, we told him to shut up and stop repeating the lies and the waitress got really upset because her son was serving in Iraq. And Rush he kept saying he saw it on the internet and after a while of us getting all over him he just got up and paid some money and left without eating his food. He just kept saying it was on the interenet it must be true."

How did the three time divorced drug addict respond? Did he say, "Uh, you know sir, the guy is actually right?" No. the big, fat idiot said, "Well, good for you sir. So you saw one of those left-wing liberal kooks up close huh?" Rush gave the "I'm proud of you for standing up to those left-wing nutjobs and thank god for you sir you great American" speeches. Of course, Rush knows the truth. He just prefers to lie to the country. You got to go with your best pitch and he does relentlessly.

Five minutes to hear a guy who reaches millions and millions of people telling his dittoheads an objective lie, one that is easy to check out on a Google search. It took me .38 seconds to find the photo. It's a well-known story and Rush knows it. He has to. He knows we were Saddam's ally when they fought the Iranians. He knows and the U.S. government acknowledges we sold him the elements, the precursors, for the chemical weapons he used on Iran and later his own people. Rush knows this but he likes to laugh and lie to his listeners because he knows his dittoheads are morons and won't check it out for themselves and he knows he can deceive them. He knows its harder to convince someone of the truth once someone like Rush pulls the info out of his ass and lies. It's what big fat idiots do and they are gold medalists at it. He knew the caller was a witless idiot and he knew the truck driver who made the claim and was shouted down and driven out of the truck stop was right. He was right about the people and the year. He was right. El Rushbo knew all of that and lied to the world with half his brain up his ass because that's how he makes millions.

It also bookends nicely with this piece from Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo who marvels at RNC chairman Ken Mehlman, doing what else, lying about the immigration bill. The Republican line now is that it's the Democrats who actually want to make being here illegally a felony rather than the Republicans whose bill (Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner) does just that. Rush and Mehlman deserve each other. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) It's the rest of us that don't.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

What a way to go

There are many ways to leave this pebble of a planet and while we all will someday kick the dust of Earth off our shoes I'd rather do it while daring greatly or in my sleep at age 100. That is not the case for two poor souls I just read about.

Oliver Johnson, a Honolulu mortage broker died last week six days after falling into sewage-contaminated waters at a Waikiki boat harbour and contracting a severe bacterial infection. The State Health Department said Johnson had three types of bacteria, including Vibrio vulnificus, which lives in warm salt water and can infect through an open wound or by eating contaminated seafood. If the bacterium enters the bloodstream, it could result in death, especially when the immune system is weakened, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"You have a 34-year-old healthy man and he goes into the Ala Wai and within days he dies of massive infections." Said Stephany Sofos, a close friend of Johnson. "It's so tragic, so senseless." he added. The city had diverted nearly 50 million gallons of raw sewage into the ocean near the harbor after a 42-inch sewer main, stressed by heavy rains, cracked March 24. In days, Johnson deteriorated from a healthy, athletic man to having his leg amputated and failing kidneys, lungs and liver, she said. He was admitted to the hospital Sunday after complaining of pain and trouble breathing. When he died Johnson was unconscious and on life support.

Then at Walt Disney World this week a 49-year-old woman died after riding “Mission: Space”. She became ill and was taken to a hospital, and died a day later. The cause of death is unknown at this time but I'm going to vote early on when your number's up, your number's up. The $100 million ride, one of Disney World’s most popular, was also closed in June after the death of a 4-year-old boy who passed out while aboard. An autopsy concluded he died of a heart condition that a medical examiner said can cause sudden death in stressful situations. The ride reopened after company engineers concluded it was operating normally. If normally means there is chance the ride might kill you. “Mission: Space” spins riders in a centrifuge that subjects them to twice the normal force of gravity. Some riders have been taken to the hospital with chest pain. People trek across the country and pay an admission for this privilege.

So the moral of the story is don't fall into raw sewage and don't ride "Mission: Space." Other than that, when your number's up, your number's up so try to enjoy the day and hope for a while you have an unlisted number.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The War on Easter

Once again as I surfed the net I saw a link about Faux News' "War on Easter." I actually laughed out loud. It's one of those, "boy The Onion is hilarious, oh wait this is real" laugh. Tremendous. Who could make this stuff up? Oh wait, Faux News can.

From Ted Baxter himself, Bill O'Lielly, "Although some left-wingers in the media deny it, we have documented a number of cases where Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter have been attacked by secular interests. Lawsuits and corporate policies have proved this point over and over again." I don't know exactly when responsible broadcasting died but there's no doubt Faux News has their fingerprints at the scene of the crime. What's next? The War on All Saints' Day? The War on The Epiphany? Don't laugh, you'll be labeled anti-Christian or godless as Ann Coulter calls all liberals in her latest fantasy piece of a book. She's laughing all the way to the bank after getting $3 million for this new love letter to the wingnuts on the right.

Yes it's horrible to be a liberal. You know, liberals gave us all those evil things like civil rights laws, voting rights laws, child labor laws, minimum wage laws. You know all the things to avoid a Hobbsian-life like in Iraq today - short, miserable and brutal. The War on Hobbs - next up on Faux News.

Of course the Last Supper is considered to have been a Passover seder (today is Passover, how convenient) and I wonder why Faux News didn't say it was a War on Passover. Is it because they hate Jews? I report, you decide.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A tale of two liars

In Iowa, two people were arrested for filing a fake obituary to get off of work for a few days. James Ralph Snyder, 36, and Mary Jo Elizabeth Jensen, 33, were behind the scheme and filed an obituary saying Jensen's 17-year-old son had died. I'd say they were drunk when they did this but apparently it was over a number of days. Then again, seeing as they lived in Waterloo, Iowa, being drunk for a few days might not be such a bad idea or uncommon.

Snyder and Jensen, who worked at Tyson Foods in Waterloo, started taking time off of work in December saying her son was sick and in a hospital. Then Tyson was told that the boy was on life support and later died. After the obituary was filed people who knew the family and the son spotted him at a restaurant in town and called the police. Snyder was charged with tampering with records and Jensen was charged with being an accessory after the fact.

So a couple of incompetent liars, creating phony documents and cover stories and without any real plan after getting what they wanted in the short term, got arrested and charged.

Meanwhile back at the ranch...Crawford that is, a couple of incompentent liars, who passed along phony documents and cover stories and without any real plan after getting what they wanted the beginning of their second term in office. In the case of the Iowa liars they were lying about a death that didn't actually occur. In the other case the lies and incompetence has led to real deaths of 2,354 U.S. soldiers and another 17,469 wounded. It's good to be the king.

Monday, April 10, 2006

What else is new?

"We made some serious mistakes in the immediate aftermath of the fall of Baghdad. We didn't have enough troops on the ground. We didn't impose our will. And as a result, an insurgency got started, and ... it got out of control."

Who said it? Colin Powell. And just in last day or so. How much attention has it gotten? Zero. Maybe if Powell had said something 3 years ago it might have made a difference. As it stands Powell gets some ridiculous amount of money per speech, probably around $100,000, to go around the country and sign books and say, "We made some serious mistakes in the immediate aftermath of the fall of Baghdad. We didn't have enough troops on the ground. We didn't impose our will. And as a result, an insurgency got started, and ... it got out of control." All with a shrug of the shoulders like, "hey, at least we tried. Give us credit."

The list of people I used to have respect for has grown by one. Powell is another company man who cared more about his career and his loyalty to our dear leader than to speaking truth to power. Saying you, "you broke it you bought it," referring to Iraq and what he called "the Pottery Barn Rule" is cute but not enough. After he gave that embarrassing speech at the U.N. before the war, a speech he has called a "stain" on his record forever Powell should have resigned. He didn't. He's no different than the executives who earned millions from Enron and even though they knew things at the company were fishy, they stayed on because the money was too good. Forget about what's right do what's personally for the best even if its wrong.

So "mistakes" were made and Iraq went down a violent rathole. Oh, well. Next up Iran. Just another opportunity for another Secretary of State to make strategic errors and later cash in on lucrative speeches explaining all about those mistakes that other people had to pay for with their lives. And by the way, there is no Pottery Barn rule at their stores that if you brake it, you bought it. Just another mistake Powell made. Wonder if its worthy of being included in his $100,000 speeches.

Friday, April 07, 2006

I. Judas Libby

New documents reveal that a member of the inner circle was specifically authorized to leak information which brought down his leader. Lewis Libby? No. Judas. Although there are probably enough similarites for the followers of Nostradamus to make for a book or two.

Judas Iscariot, (who knew he had a last name?) history's pre-eminent betrayer (not a lot of Judas or Benedicts in pre-school) is being described as a good guy who was the only apostle who understood Jesus and his desire to shed his earthly body. It is suggested that Jesus directed Judas to "leak" and betray him so as to release his trapped spirit.

I. Lewis Libby has testified under oath (under oath, like means anything to these people) that Vice President Cheney told him to leak classified parts of the National Intelligence Estimate, not the parts that argued against the administration's views, and that Cheney told Libby that President Bush specifically autorized Libby to have breakfast with Judith Miller and leak the NIE to her. It makes sense that a government that selectively collects intelligence, throwing out the info that doesn't fit into their world view, would also leak selectively filtering out any remaining doubts about Saddam's pursuit of nuclear weapons. The White House argues that the President can declassify anything as long as he says so. Nice to see our government being run like divorces in India where the husband only has to say I divorce you three times in their sleep for it to happen. I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you. I declassify, I declassify, I declassify.

Whatever happens with Judas Libby we already know that anything this adminstration says from a publicly from a podium or privately to The New York Times, a paper they publicly have contempt for while privately leaking to them, is not to be believed. I'll leave the Jesus/Bush/Judas/Libby parallels to those smarter and more grounded in religious comparisons than me.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Depends on the meaning of "shameful"

Remember all the holier than thou lectures by W about the "shameful" act of leaking classified information? More than once W has lectured the press about the "shameful" act of leaking classified information that helps the enemy. He has even summoned newspaper editors to The White House to prevent the publication of stories that revealed nothing useful to any enemy but rather that W had ordered illegal wiretapping of Americans. Should it be to anyone's surprise that President George "it's a shameful act" Bush himself is said to have authorized leaking parts of the National Intelligence Estimate to, wait for it, The New York Times? With this bunch of hypocrites I believe anything at this point.

From the New York Sun, "A former White House aide under indictment for obstructing a leak probe, I. Lewis Libby, testified to a grand jury that he gave information from a closely-guarded "National Intelligence Estimate" on Iraq to a New York Times reporter in 2003 with the specific permission of President Bush, according to a new court filing from the special prosecutor in the case.

The court papers from the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, do not suggest that Mr. Bush violated any law or rule. However, the new disclosure could be awkward for the president because it places him, for the first time, directly in a chain of events that led to a meeting where prosecutors contend the identity of a CIA employee, Valerie Plame, was provided to a reporter." (hat tip: Talkingpoints).

So I guess it's going to depend on the meaning of "shameful" and we already know Bush has a history of not knowing what it means. Maybe the new phrase is something like, "Leak details of my illegal wiretapping of Americans, shame, shame on you. Leak the NIE to New York Times reporters, not so shameful for me."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Disband the Ethics Committee

Remember the House Ethics Committee? No? That's understandable since it has been inactive for over a year. You may remember that the Republican leadership removed the former chair Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO) because he was running the panel fairly and with integrity and put in their lackeys led by Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA). What is he a "doctor" of exactly? Protecting his ethically challenged colleagues? The Republicans did a courageous job of protecting Tom Delay on his way out of the House by blocking any ethics investigation of him.

I don't know why you would want to look into the nest of corruption from his office since his former press secretary Michael Scanlon and former deputy Chief of Staff Tony Rudy have pled guilty to felonies and his former chief of staff Ed Buckham is next to go up the river. Another Enron-like world. The top guy claims to have done nothing wrong and claims to have had no idea what was going on outside his office door. Maybe the first question to every member of congress is "Do you know what's going on in your office?" so as to prevent the "I had no idea" defense.

The ethics panel also failed to allow investigations of Republican Bob (a.k.a. Representative 1 in indictments) Ney of Ohio and Democrat William Jefferson from Louisiana. I mean what is the point at this point? The ethics committee is Washington D.C. in a nutshell. Conflicts of interests (the Republicans on the panel have donated to Delay's legal defense fund), partisan protectionism, firing of decent and impartial members, promotions of lackeys and poolboys, lengthy meetings that end up in deadlock, in short a total waste of time and money. Perfect.

Let the crooks continue to be crooked. Let the people decide (in theory since democracy has been hijacked and hotwired in incumbents' and the parties' favor) if they want their crook in congress. A government as good as its people is now more like a government as bad as its people. End the charade. Disband the ethics panel.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Delay De-Coward

I knew Republican Rep. Tom Delay was a bully and cheat but now he adds cowards to his resume. Delay is a former bug exterminator business owner who hated those pesky government rules against bug poisons that might harm people and thus developed a deep hatred for all things government. Until he became part of it.

After building the House of Representatives into his personal kingdom, after bullying and threatening those in and out of government, after breaking (allegedly) Texas campaign finance laws (almost impossible) to redistrict Texas between the 10 year census (and getting the Justice Department career lawyers overruled to do it), after using Department of Homeland Security to track down Democrats who left Texas to avoid voting on his scheme, after getting the House to change its rules to allow indicted congressmen (him) to keep their leadership role (him again), after members of his staff were indicted and pled guilty, The Bugman has announced he will not run in November and resign his seat. What a coward.

After all that. After playing the thug and bully his whole life he does what all bullies and cowards do when confronted - they fold, they run away. He claims he doesn't want to be a distraction for Republicans and that his polling shows he probably will lose this fall. One report has his lawyers telling him he needs to focus not on his re-election but on keeping himself from spending the rest of his life in jail. That might also have the added benefit of helping to prove there is a god.

Under Texas law to get a new Republican on the ballot for November Delay must either die, be convicted of a felony, or move out of his district. In honor of the new baseball season including both Chicago teams in first place here's hoping for a triple play.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Russ Feingold for President

I'm voting early. I'm voting for Sen. Russ Feingold for President. I don't care if he's not running (he is) or whether he can win (probably not). Feingold is the lone voice (now two other Democratic senators have signed on) calling for an official censure of President Bush for his illegal warrantless NSA wiretapping of Americans, most notably Quakers and other peace groups. Watch Fiengold's visit to the lion's den of Faux News and how he explains in simple terms why it's bad government to allow the president to make up his own laws and when it becomes public just make what he did legal retroactively.

Feingold also was the lone vote against the much criticized Patriot Act and voted against the authorization to use force in Iraq. Many Democratic senators should be ashamed of themselves for not standing with Feingold. They obviously made the political calculation that supporting a censure loses more votes than it gains for them. These are the same "geniuses" who have lost the White House, the Senate and the House and with it the Judiciary. What's even worse is that in 1999, a Censure Resolution against Bill Clinton for his "inappropriate relationship" with Monica Lewinsky was introduced after his impeachment acquittal by Sen. Diane Feinstein who is still in the Senate. She is either against or doesn't want to talk about Feingold's move. Sen. Chuck Shumer, then a congressman, voted for censure of Clinton but now is uncharacteristically quiet. Joe Lieberman? He was for censure in 1999 but against it in 2006. Then there is Sen. Orrin Hatch who not only thinks Censure itself is unconstitutional but also the FISA law he voted for in 1978. For a more thorough look on this just read Glenn Greenwald's Unclaimed Territory.

Gutless Democrats and hypocrite enablers of crime Republicans. What a way to start the week. Vote Feingold.