Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Secretary Spellings

I happened to watch some of the National School Boards Association's conference on reauthorizing No Child Left Behind on C-SPAN and boy, you just have to love the Education Secretary, she seemed to be having such a nice time. Okay, maybe not.

The show was very illuminating, watching Bush’s Education Secretary lie through her teeth to a roomful of educators. Illuminating because, of course, we all know that a big crowd of educators will fall for most anything they hear from their “Principal.” Right. Right? Hey, put that paper down! Put the chair back where you found it!

Here's a couple more links to the event. Spellings kept telling the educators that the Bush Education Ministry wasn't trying to privatize education, but I don't think they really bought it. And that was about the closest thing to an actual answer she gave during her ordeal, er, Q&A. Oh, and admitting she hadn't read Rep Young's Improvements Act to NCLB. Which was introduced in Congress in, get this, ready, it's a doozy, June 30, 2006.

I haven't read it either, but then again, I'm not in charge of the Education Department.

Spellings is set on accomplishing two goals, it seems, privatizing education, and proving the unworthyness of the Education Department. And that's part and parcel for every member of the Bush Administration, as far as I can see. And rather than play that game, we need to throw it back in their faces, hit them where it hurts.

The Democrats need to throw more money at the Federal Government, by the bucketful. Not for contractors no bid contracts or corporations tax breaks, but for improvements and expansion to better serve the population. And demonstrate why. Not because government has failed the people, but because the Republicans have failed the people, through their greed, through their indifference, ignorance, and incompetence, and through their allegiance to corporations over the voters of this country.

Katrina is one of those failures. NCLB is another. John Edwards talks of two America's, Senator Webb of two different countries and it's that divide that exposes the GOP, prattling hacks like Margaret Spellings and dangerous hacks like Eliot Abrams et al for the corrupt and out of touch heartless automotons that they are.

So beat them over the heads with it, people. Write those letters, contribute to Henry Waxman, walk to work one day, buy stock in some solar cell company, or Whole Foods Market, volunteer at a homeless shelter, write and call your representatives, talk to people about the divide, do whatever you can to repeat the message: the GOP is bad for this country, and here's why.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Slow Ride to Impeachment

I guess I'm going to be flogging impeachment a lot, but hey, it's my blog, it's our future, who's going to stop me?

On C-SPAN thi morning was a re-run of discussion on Biden's committee about his non-binding resolution, and I couldn't help but go back to the days of Richard Nixon. I remember those days as a young, ignorant early-teen, fascinated by Nixon, and being mostly ignorant of politics I supported him. I can remember how Congress kept pushing him to give up his tapes, I can see the stacks of blue bound transcriptions, Congress telling him no, Mr. President, these redacted transcripts won't do, we want the tapes.

Until the Howard Bakers of the GOP got on board, though, his impeachment was quite uncertain. The Democrats just didn't seem to know what to do, how to deal with this jowled, dark man. So they just kept pounding away, holding hearings, peeling away the layers of corruption one crook at a time. Here's a link to some Watergate Testimony, note that the 1st witness, Mr Bittman, actually answered questions, also note that Mssrs. Conyers and Rangel were on that committee, and that Hillary D Rodham was on the staff.

I was struck by Sen. Lugar's comments that I heard this morning, how he thinks Bush is wrong with his faux surge, but he won't support the non-binding resolution.

"It is unclear to me how passing a nonbinding resolution that the president has already said he will ignore will contribute to any improvement or modification in our Iraq policy," Lugar, R-Ind., said Wednesday.

Well, Senator, the only way we're going to get an improvement, as you note ipso facto, is by replacing the decider.

Watergate took months, this mess is going to take a while too, a non binding resolution that shows the president as unrepenatent and deaf to the wishes of the people and their congress is just one of those steps we need to take. It's a kabuki dance, and we have to go thru the motions, because people like Lugar are too frightened and too entrenched in their thinking, to move quickly. And while we all want Bush and Cheney and the rest of their rotten crew impeached yesterday, it ain't gonna happen that way. So we need to just keep up the pressure, protests, resolutions, letters, investigations. Whatever it takes.

And if Cheney is forced to resign because of the Libby trial, will Bush appoint that lying snake Rice as his VP? And will the Senate approve her? That would be show, I'm thinking!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Unholy Alliance

If you want to see what impact that unholy alliance of a free press and corporation can have on our society you need look no further than Tim Russert. I'm sorry, it's either unholy, or "delicious," and if that little quote doesn't tell a tale itself about the press, I don't know what does.

The media is concentrated in the hands of a few, we know this, and that means the power is in those same hands, and that concentration is destroying that great concept of a free press in the process. Destroys their ability to report, to act as a lever of power, to exercise some control over the dialogue of politics.

And politicians, whose coin of the realm is power, are free to wield that power as they will.

So what, you say, that's what they do anyway. Maybe, but not so wantonly, so recklessly as Sen Webb said, not so incompetently either. As Cathie Martin, Cheney's Communication Director explained it,

"You didn't have a lot of hands-on experience dealing with the press?" defense attorney Theodore Wells asked.

"Correct," Martin replied. After further questions, she added: "Few of us in the White House had had hands-on experience with any crisis like this."

This trial is damning to the media monopolies, humiliating to Tim Russert and his ilk, an unanticipated revelation of the collusion between the press and the White House. Revealing the connections that quickly between the Corporate media and Politicians is not something I expected to happen in the second day of the trial, but it did, because of the binding connection of one man. One man who shows the danger of that connection to the health of our nation. Because one deranged man with control over the levers of power can cause a lot of hurt. And while Dana Milbank thinks it's "delicious," I think it's criminal, because of one man.

Enter Dick Cheney. Both Corporate Man, and frightened little man. By his actions, by the philosophy he presents to the world, he exposes himself as a man who does not belief in the idea of shared governance, of trusting that others are capable of doing the “right thing.” He exposes his lack of confidence in America to deal with the challenges of the future, he reveals his contempt for his fellow man with that sneer for California’s call for conservation during the Enron crisis, he shows his lack of humanity with his killing, I won’t say the euphemistic shooting, of caged animals, in sum, he sells us all short because of his inadequacy and inability to imagine others competence.

And through his fear his only construct for dealing with the vagaries and unpredictability and beauty of life, is control within the framework of the corporation, more precisely, the ability of corporations to control and unduly benefit from the resolution of the challenges of life and the future.

This is Dick Cheney, a man driven by his inordinate fear and base immaturity into the camps of the neo-cons and the bullies and the greed-mongers. And thanks to the consolidation of the free press he has the means for driving his demons into submission. Thanks to that press imbalance, using tools like the Premier Sunday Political Talk Show, Big Time Dick can stand with a foot in both the Corporate world and the Political world, sitting on his faithful steed Timmeh, a scared, scarred, old man, and spread his ignorance and ruination on us all, and it’s going to be a real test of our newly elected Congress and the reporters on the ground to see if they can change their slide into toothless irrelevance and bust up the Gang of 500 and their Corporate Masters.

They need pressuring, to stop consolidation, to return the Fairness Doctrine, to shame the Broder's and Timmeh's and Milbanks into less protective vindictiveness, or into irrelevance. That's the problem, with consolidation and corporatization, stars like Russert and Miller and Brian Williams get rich and assimilated. They're no longer members of the press, but members of the punditry and cocktail circuit, part of the story and not reporters of the story. That's the world of corporations, that's part of Dick Cheney's world, and the failure of the press to expose Cheney's other world, the world of fear and inadequecy, is what's killing people in Iraq today.

I wonder if Tim Russert responds to the news, or is he too big to notice?

Free Press for Sale

Look at this article from the AP via E&P about the FCC and Media Consolidation.

When the government decided to take a hard look at how well broadcasters were serving their communities, two economists at the [FCC] got a research idea: ... look at whether locally owned TV stations produced more local news than stations owned by companies based outside the area.

They found that local ownership resulted in more local news coverage. They also realized they had turned up what one of the researchers ... called "inconvenient facts." The findings were at odds with what their agency, under heavy lobbying from the broadcast industry, had endorsed.

The months-long study was spiked by the agency with "no plausible explanation," Brown says. He suspects it was because the conclusions were at odds with the shared position of the FCC and the broadcast industry.

This is the Bush Administration. This is why we have these charlatans, because Corporations OWN them. What Bush does on his free time is his own thing, just so long as it doesn't interfere with what the Corps want. And if he should happen to drum up some extra business with his other activities, all to the good.

I was reminded of this listening to Squawk Box this morning. They had a story (video at Fri. Jan. 26 2007 | 5:40 AM[04:22]) about some New England town and their "most famous" citizen Martha Stewart, who wants to copyright the town name for herself. The town leader they were talking too was opposed, as was the town, to the notion, and the hostess of the show, Becky Quick, was relentless in pushing the man, trying to get him to admit there was no reason for their opposition to the copyright issue. I was cleaning up in the kitchen but i could hear the slight annoyence on his part, and her incredulous questions, how could you people be so stupid, SHE'S FAMOUS for gods sake. But he had none of it.

She knows nothing of the place or the people, has no sense of propriety or dignity or class, shall we say, but boyo, she knows corporations!

Corporations have no real loyalty to anything but the bottom line. The differeneces are in how they approach that responsibility, how long their time horizon is, how much, or little, they incorporate into the rostrum of profitability. And that is why it's so dangerous to have the Press do entwined into the corporate mindset, so deeply embedded to the goal of profit. That is why the FCC exists, to use their powers and influence to try to keep some balance between the sometimes opposing forces of profit and a free press. And when the government advocates a shared position of the FCC and the broadcast industry, you have problems, and tacky reporting, like the CNBC story.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Senator Webb Responds

I didn't watch Bush speak, watched the beginning for the History, saw the end where he went into his Iraq rant, and the lie that To allow this to happen would be to ignore the lessons of September 11 and invite tragedy when of course Iraq had nothing to do with any lessons of 9/11, that would have been al Queda and the seething frustrations of millions of Muslims with no control over their lives, and our enabling of that loss of control for their oil. Then waited for Senator Webb.

When he started speaking I was transfixed. Finally, someone with confidence giving a proper response to the SOTU. None of the duelling laundry lists, none of the usual gamesmanship, none of the flowery rhetoric that adds nothing but padding to the speech.

From the first I saw a speech, a response, different than any other I've watched, and I've watched more than a few. I'm not sure what it was that was so different at first, but then it hit me. He's not trying to compete, or take the pundit driven nostrum to heart that how can a responder expect to match the pomp and circumstance of the U.S Government in all its glory. No, he's taking it straight to the heart of the matter. The State of the Union.

When one looks at the health of our economy, it's almost as if we are living in two different countries. Some say that things have never been better. The stock market is at an all-time high, and so are corporate profits. But these benefits are not being fairly shared. When I graduated from college, the average corporate CEO made 20 times what the average worker did; today, it's nearly 400 times. In other words, it takes the average worker more than a year to make the money that his or her boss makes in one day.

John Edwards' Two America's. The stock market tied to those who truly have reaped the benefit. Like Pfizer's $83 million pension benefit to their recently ousted CEO, or the Dick Grasso $140 millionpayout. Direct and to the point.

People have so lionized our troops, so enobled them, that none dare criticize them or their "mission." Sen. Webb simply cut through the crap to remind us of what the deal really is for the troops and the mission. As always, my highlights.

Like so many other Americans, ...we serve and have served, not for political reasons, but because we love our country. On the political issues — those matters of war and peace, and in some cases of life and death — we trusted the judgment of our national leaders. We hoped that they would be right, that they would measure with accuracy the value of our lives against the enormity of the national interest that might call upon us to go into harm's way.

We owed them our loyalty, as Americans, and we gave it. But they owed us — sound judgment, clear thinking, concern for our welfare, a guarantee that the threat to our country was equal to the price we might be called upon to pay in defending it.

Sen. Webb exposes the rot at the core of George W Bush. None of those things were done by the Bush administration. Did you expect anything less from Bush, a man seemingly bent on destroying this country so that he can save it? These failures are at the heart of the State of Our Union today.

Oh yes, this was a most damning speech, and he gave it so forcefully, so calmly, sitting on his stool in his office, in stark contrast to the fawning and public display for Bush, you could see yourself getting called into Dad's den to get a few things explained to you, couldn't you? Reality versus A Broadway Show, telling us, look, this is real, this isn't a pretty speech for the cameras, this is between you and me. Who looks better viewed that way?

The reckless man? The man who defied the predictable and the predicted (I told you so you drunken sot!)? The man who damaged our reputation and lost opportunities and spilled our blood? Or the man who has served his country with honor, whose son is doing the same, who speaks clearly and directly to the challenges and problems before us, and suggests that there is hope after all. (My bolds again)

On both of these vital issues, our economy and our national security, it falls upon those of us in elected office to take action.

...I am reminded of the situation President Theodore Roosevelt faced in the early days of the 20th century. America was then, as now, drifting apart along class lines. The so-called robber barons were unapologetically raking in a huge percentage of the national wealth. The dispossessed workers at the bottom were threatening revolt.

Roosevelt spoke strongly against these divisions. He told his fellow Republicans that they must set themselves "as resolutely against improper corporate influence on the one hand as against demagogy and mob rule on the other." And he did something about it.

These presidents took the right kind of action, for the benefit of the American people and for the health of our relations around the world. Tonight we are calling on this president to take similar action, in both areas. If he does, we will join him. If he does not, we will be showing him the way.

You know what we got tonight? A LEADER. And he's a Democrat. And he destroyed George W Bush, exposed him, him and all of his rotten pals for all to see.

Thank you, Senator, and all those who helped get this man elected. I helped a tiny little bit, so, I'm welcome!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bush the Military Leader

Just a few comments on this WaPo article highlighted by Bloglord Soto.

So Bush relied on his own judgment that the best answer was to try once again to snuff out the sectarian violence in Baghdad, even at the risk of putting U.S. soldiers into a crossfire between Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias....

It was a signature moment for a president who seems uninfluenced by the electorate on Iraq and headed for a showdown with the new Democratic Congress....

"The guy who is most committed to winning and finding a way to win is the president. He always has been; he's the only reason we are still in this fight," said Frederick W. Kagan, a military historian [at the AEI]

What judgement he's relying on I simply do not know. Smug, unexperienced Fred Kagan? A "Historian" has no business giving military advice, especially Frederick W. Kagan, who holds a B.A. in Soviet and East European studies and a Ph.D. in Russian and Soviet military history from Yale University. But remember, Bush is the only reason "we're" (lucky us) STILL in this fight.

But it gets better, really, it does.

By early fall, even as Bush was on the campaign trail accusing Democrats of defeatism, he and his senior advisers were coming to the conclusion that his core assumptions were wrong. The political process would not lead to security in Iraq. In fact, it would have to be the other way around....

"It was pretty clear when you started to look at our assumptions, many of them just weren't right,"

Three years and how many dead later, 3 years and no discernable signs of a functioning government, certainly not a functioning democracy we supposedly were in this for, and now they figure their core assumptions were wrong? And to think that security, putting a lid on the Iraqi sectarian pressure cooker, would lead to that political assumption simply denies the reality of thousands of years of human history. Security imposed from within or without generally leads to discontent and violence, not peace and democracy, and it's criminal to think otherwise.

And this last quote, well, that last reason they give for why things didn't work quite the way they claimed they wanted them too, (and I'm of the mind that many simply weren't, and aren't, concerned over Iraq in any policy or theoretical or humanistic sense, but as a massive income redistribution system) simply reveals them as utterly lacking in any sense of governance or diplomacy or competence.

The Bush team concluded that the previous Baghdad security plans had failed for four reasons: The Iraqis never took ownership over security, Maliki placed political constraints on military operations, there were not enough reliable Iraqi and U.S. forces, and there was no serious effort to rebuild areas taken back from insurgents or militias.

So, what, they think that the troops would take over a city, say Fallujah, do nothing, then leave, and that was an accomplishment? This only betrays their utter lack of any military ability, any sense, any shreds of competence. In the old days they would loot and rape and put the city to the torch, which was a plan of sorts, Bush's adventure didn't even have that aspect of a plan.

Koresh on a Titan II missile, wars do not really solve problems, they create the environment for political and policy solutions to problems. To have no plan after the fight, as we've seen from the outset of this nightmare, plainly, emphatically, tells us that the people running the show need to be replaced. And from this article it's clear who that person is, George W Bush.

American Empire

There are those people like Dick Cheney who want to dominate the world and its resources for their own benefit and comfort, who do it in the mistaken notion that this serves America best, that our way of life requires that protection. This from the self styled feckless punditry described "Daddy" party types. Yet I reject that notion for many reasons.

America does not want to rule the world, we never have, and that was not what led to the foundation of this nation by those revolutionary rebels of 1776. And not these supposed ones, not even these discussed by Joe Trippi, although I must note this part of his discussion: (as always, my highlights thruout)

Gary Hart, ... wrote that to Thomas Jefferson “The most effective protection of individual rights, civil, legal, and political was widespread democratic participation in the affairs of governance. The greatest danger to rights was citizen detachment and in the political resolution of public concerns by interested forces dominating a remote central government.”

The Republicans have diagnosed the problem of a remote central government in Washington and rallied against it— offering no real alternative other than to dismantle it.

Even on our own continent we claimed concern for those outside our boundaries, as evidenced by this ordinance which said:

The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent; and in their property, rights, and liberty they shall never be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity shall, from time to time be made, for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them.

The application of which fell tragically and shamefully far short, and I blame those who did not respect the law and the founding principles of the nation for much of that, plus ignorance and bigotry of course.

And I can't leave that ordinance without noting this:

Art. 2. The inhabitants of the said territory shall always be entitled to the benefits of the writ of habeas corpus,

Read the histories about WWI or WWII, read what the men on the ground would say, it becomes redily apparent that they're there to help, esp II, but that these fights are not really their business, and best left behind as soon as possible. Except for Japan because of their attack on Pearl.

No, I reject the greed and cowardice of Dick Cheney and, quoting Carlos Fuentes, "Junior, a totally clueless man, a ventriloquist's dummy" who believe America so weak and fragile and vulnerable that her only salvation is to establish this garbage as our founding principles:

The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.

Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today. Here are four consequences:

• we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;
• we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;
• we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;
• we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.

We want to keep on keepin on, to live and let live, and enjoy the fruits of our labor, enjoy our families, our National Parks, our hobbies and passions. Yet the government we have today doesn't believe that, is threatened by such notions, scared that, basically, the American People aren't up to the challenges of the global economy, that we're weak and soft. They protect us from ourselves, which I always thought was the charge against the "Mommy Party" yet assumed by the "Daddy Party," and I have to think it's really only a reflection oftheir own insecurity and inadequecy, and I am sick of this country being run by a bunch of gutless cowards, and I welcome all the suffering and slings and arrows they suffer at the hands of bloggers and Democrats in Congress.

It's time for a change in America. The People need to regain their Sovereignty. Marches start on Jan 27th in a place near you. Check it out.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Senate Anger

One consequence of having Democrats in charge of the Senate is the power wielded by committee chairs. This morning I saw a re-run of Mr. Gonzales testimony before Sen. Leahy's Judiciary Committee, and well, Mr. Gonzales better get used to it.

We all saw the Specter-Gonzo absurdity linked to from this post, but maybe you missed the one where Pat Leahy yelled at Gonzales, and did not, almost, let him get away with weaseling out of answering questions.

Leahy: "We knew damn well if he went to Canada he wouldn't be tortured. He'd be held and he'd be investigated. We also knew damn well if he went to Syria, he'd be tortured. And it's beneath the dignity of this country, a country that has always been a beacon of human rights, to send somebody to another country to be tortured."

Sen. Leahy actually raised his voice at Gonzales, and the beady eyed little bastard didn't like it. There are some mightily frustrated and fed up politicians in the Democratic camp that are going to be pounding these people on a weekly, daily basis for 12 years of contempt and arrogance lavished on the Democrats, and while it might not be impeachment of Bush/Cheney, it's going to put pressure on them, and that's what the Democrats need to do, put pressure on the Administration in any way or form they can, they can't give in to them on every issue, or get swept quietly under the rug any longer.

Something will give, and something will come from it, you just watch.

Monday, January 15, 2007

On the Bright Side

Because the Chargers lost to the Patriots Sunday, Alex Spanos won't make any more money from the Chargers playing football this season.

They were the better team, they should have won the game handily, but they made way too many mistakes.

They had lots of chances early on to amend those mistakes, but they just made other mistakes, until there was no fixing it. And the opposition counter attacked a couple of times, taking advantage of those mistakes and scoring, and holding off a desparate long field goal at the end to win.

Sorta like Bush's pretend policy in Iraq (no, not the real one about controlling the oil for 30 years, looting some tens of billions from the US Treasury for non-Oil customers, and generally enriching their favored corparasites at our expense) except that it isn't a game there, and people die because of it.

A very disappointing football game nonetheless. Well, yet again, wait til next year.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Bush Shows Ethics Allegiances

As per this San Diego UT article it would appear that US DA Carol Lam, no friend of mine thanks to her pointless and heartless prosecutions of Medical Marijauna growers and distributors, is getting shown the door, a somewhat unusual move given there are no suggestions or charges of corruption or incompetence involved.

Two reasons come to mind, she isn't sufficiently anti-immigrant for the likes of Darrell Issa, and she prosecuted Randy Cunningham, and has shown a tendency to prosecute white collar criminals over low level smugglers.

The Bush administration has quietly asked San Diego U.S. Attorney Carol Lam, best known for her high-profile prosecutions of politicians and corporate executives, to resign her post, a law enforcement official said....

When she took over, Lam made it clear that she planned to focus less on low-level smuggling cases in favor of public corruption and white collar crime, which would mean fewer but more significant prosecutions.

There may be valid reasons, but given that it's the Bush White House making this move, what are the chances? It's always, and I mean always, politics with that crew, and this smells no differently.

I suspect that Bush and Co is working beneath the radar, across the country, to shore up another line of defense to protect their criminal conspiracy, because why else would they fire somebody who scored such a major victory against public corruption in the Cunningham case, a case that continues on, and don't be surprised if the case against Mitchell Wade and Brent Wilkes, and the related corruption cases pending against Virgil Goode and Katie Harris end with a whimper, not a bang.

But that's just me, the nasty suspicious sort that I am.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Out of the Quagmire

Attacking Iran and Syria, yes, that's the solution to Bush's Iraq Oil War, start a fight somewhere else, against a nation that hasn't had their military degraded for the past ten years, no less.

It's very depressing to see how stupid America has become, that we even tolerate this pathetic little man, his pathetic and tired old man consigliori, and his whole cast of vapid, unredeemable slaves to the power of, the bright and shiny new car smell of money and childhood fantasies of dominion and global conquest.

Imagine Roosevelt or Adams or Cleveland making a speech like Bush just did? Can't do it, can you? When the best hope for reducing the violence in Iraq is not the boot heel, but collaboration with interested parties in the region, what does Bush do? Threaten them, of course.

It's clear that George W Bush has no interest in a positive outcome in Iraq, nor a negative outcome for that matter. What does concern him is making sure that the Oil and his Manly Image remain in control of US interests.

Because what we really need to do to solve the world's problem is to make sure that we can keep that Oil Monkey on our backs as long as humanly possible. Let's see, first there was chocolate covered Egyptian cotton, now it'll be crude oil encrusted salmon, ummm, yummy!

And here's some delicious oil soaked quotes, served on a bed of American and Iraqi blood. (As usual, bolds are mine)

The US government has been involved in drawing up the law...

Vice-President **** Cheney, who said in 1999, while he was still chief executive of ... Halliburton, that the world would need an additional 50 million barrels of oil a day by 2010. "So where is the oil going to come from?... The Middle East, with two-thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies," he said.

Oil industry executives and analysts say the law, which would permit Western companies to pocket up to three-quarters of profits in the early years

Well, you get the drift. We need to get off the oil, we need to start building solar cells and energy storage devices and building efficiency equipment, most of all, we need to change the way we operate in the United States. Because we've become trapped into this automobile dominated society, fueled by cheap gas. And those days are as dead as Hussein and Franco, yet Big Oil and their grateful lackey, GW Bush want to perpetuate that way of life forever, it seems, at any cost it appears.

And we buy into it, by tolerating George W Bush and his miserable administration, the vacant and empty vessel that is Condi Rice, the lunacy of Rumsfeld, the comic book evil of Dick Cheney, the absurdities of having people like Newt Gingrich and Bill Bennett and Rush Limbaugh and Fred Kagan lecture us on morality and the proper affairs of state.

I hope these dark days will be soon behind us, for that I will continue to blog and work and write and contribute and encourage, try to educate and offer hope, because we need a new way forward, and that way lies not in the desert sands of Iraq nor the mountainous plateaus of Iran.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Answering "Starving the Troops"

C-SPAN had the Senators behind the ethics bill on yesterday, and after their Q&A Senator Obama answered some Iraq questions, mainly, how does the Congress cut off Bush's war funding without shorting or starving or baring naked the troops in Iraq?

And he talked about that problem, basically that the Pentagon monies are fungible, but he didn't get to the root of the answer. I will.

As Commander-in-Chief, President Bush directs spending priorities for the Pentagon. Thus, if Congress cuts funding to the Pentagon with the express intent of forcing the President to face reality and start to withdraw our troops from the "broken eggs" of Iraq, and he ignores that desire or determination of Congress, then as the decider for spending on the troops, it is not the fault of Congress if the forces in Iraq are short changed of what they need, but it is the direct fault and responsibility of the President because of his, and his alone, spending decisions. He is the one who chose to not direct more monies towards Iraq at the expense of some other military spending need, his burden alone that did not fully fund his war, his choice to starve the troops to maintain funding elsewhere, yes, it will be George F W Bush who chose to deny the Will of Congress and the American People for whom he works amd left, nay, continued to leave, those brave and enduring American Men and Women in harms way simply to foster his own mighty man legacy and the wishes of the Corporate Oil and War Machine, not Congress, not the American Military, not the American People, no, George W Bush alone bears the blame.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

It May be a Game but it's a Tough Business

I can see Tony Romo replaying that play in his mind over and over and over, with the same bad ending, and can only admire him for his honesty and integrity by showing up at the interview room to answer questions from the reporters. And as he said, he's going to be a long time in getting over it.

And what a play to review, from disaster, the dropped hold, to miraculous comeback, the goal line, hell the first down line in sight (I said to myself as he was running, "Self, he's going to score!") to sudden and shocking end as the desperate diving tackle from behind abruptly shattered the Cowboy's Super Bowl hopes.

I can remember screwing up at work, maybe not so spectacularly or finally, and it's no fun facing the music, but face it you must, and I can only give kudos to Bill Parcells and Terrell Owens and Tony Romo and whoever else went out to face the media (those 3 being the only ones they showed on teevee, alas on ESPN which is owned by ABC/Disney and which we have further actionable items to report here) for acting like adults and facing the press without rancor or undue defensiveness.

If only we had a President who acted that way, like a responsible adult, instead of a petulent and rotten bully.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Fighting the Fight

Spocko, of Spocko's Brain, seems to have stirred up quite the shitstorm with the fine folks at Disney/ABC regarding their hate speakers at KSFO Radio in San Francisco.

As I say, the Media is one of our problems today, a pillar of Demcoracy, like Organized Labor, a pillar that has been co-opted by the corporations to the detriment of democracy and this country. Just giving a pass, of ignoring hate speech like the garbage Spocko is fighting against does not serve us well in this land. Poisoning the airwaves for fun and profit is far from what I would consider a productive use of my airwaves, and I'm with him in trying to change the discourse from hate, to acceptance and freedom.

So I'm doing my part, by linking this post (again), by writing some letters to advertisers, and by supporting the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

And I'll leave you with this excerpt from another letter Spocko wrote, to Netflix.

In the past, like many people, I chose to ignore the rants of these people, I did as many suggested and changed the dial or turned it off. Friends said, "It's just talk radio, they are just radio hosts. What's the big deal?" I'd like to mention three names to you: Hassan Ngeze, Ferdinand Nahimana, and Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza. Maybe you've never heard of them, but the three Rwandans were convicted of genocide for media reports that fostered the killing of about 800,000 Rwandans , mostly of the Tutsi minority, over several months in 1994.

How did I hear about these people? In a movie I rented from Netflix called " Hotel Rwanda." Seeing those radio hosts inciting violence chilled me to the bone, as I'm sure it would most people.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Bi-Partisanship-Facing the Pointy End of the Stick

Yes, that's right, lets get all kumbaya in the halls of Congress, so sayeth George W Bush. The inaability to comprehend irony is a true marker of a Republican, in my opinion, and this article has plenty of examples. They've been whining since day one about how we all need to come together, how mean Speaker Pelosi is for denying them a say in the first 100 hours, etc, to which I say, tough. Deal with it.

The Sideshow has a pithy reminder sheet to use when they start calling for B-P, and that goes for Bush too.

Congress has changed," Bush said. "Our obligations to the country haven't changed."

Bush in a newspaper opinion piece published Wednesday, the president warned lawmakers:

"If the Congress chooses to pass bills that are simply political statements, they will have chosen stalemate," Bush wrote. "If a different approach is taken, the next two years can be fruitful ones for our nation. We can show the American people that Republicans and Democrats can come together to find ways to help make America a more secure, prosperous and hopeful society."

As noted, this is the question you should ask when republicans spout bi-partisanship: "I must ask this person immediately how Pelosi is supposed to stop the Republicans from being so viciously partisan."

That is the crux of it, because they have given no hint or suggestion, certainly not with the crap coming from Bush's pen =)) that they're changing their ways. So Democrats should do what they need to do, and if the Republicans want to get back into the good graces of the people of this country, then they should get along with the program.

They've had their chance, and they've screwed the pooch beyond all reason. You want to control spending, Bush? Get out of Iraq. Balance the budget? Raise taxes on the rich. See, it's simple,really.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The Failure of Bush's Presidency-Iraq

I wasn't planning on commenting on this , but after re-reading this article from the NYT, how can a wholesale purging of Bush and his lackeys not be far behind?

Think about this: But the plan collided with Iraq’s ferocious unraveling, which took most of Mr. Bush’s war council by surprise. How could that have been a surprise, when everybody with a shred of integrity was predicting it? Not just lefty bloggeers, mind you, but generals and politicisan past and present.

Or this: senior officials said the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department had also failed to take seriously warnings, including some from its own ambassador in Baghdad, that sectarian violence could rip the country apart and turn Mr. Bush’s promise to “clear, hold and build” Iraqi neighborhoods and towns into an empty slogan. Why weren't they taking these warnings seriously, were they too busy playing politics, or too busy feathering the nests of their corporate buddies, perhaps?

This seems somewhat criminal, if you ask me: This year, decisions on a new strategy were clearly slowed by political calculations.

And while soldiers and civilians died because the Bush Administration did not know what they were doing in Iraq, did not the country, did not the geopolitics in any way, shape or form, it became ever clear that they didn't really care.

By May 2006, uneasy officials at the State Department and the National Security Council argued for a review of Iraq strategy. A meeting was convened at Camp David to consider those approaches, according to participants in the session, but Mr. Bush left early for a secret visit to Baghdad, where he reviewed the war plans with General Casey and Mr. Maliki, and met with the American pilot whose plane’s missiles killed Iraq’s Al Qaeda leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He returned to Washington in a buoyant mood.

The visit meant that the reconsideration of strategy was not as thorough as some officials hoped.

Because George W Bush snuck off in the dead of night to grandstand in Iraq, a full and complete review of the Iraq strategy was not completed.

And that pretty well sums it all up. Bush is only in it for what it looks like, and to further the clandestine aims of his corporate masters.

Oh, and did I mention, Bush lies a lot? The effort started in September, around the time Mr. Bush decided to oust Mr. Rumsfeld.

Athenae has it right. Worst. President. Ever.