Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Abu Gonzales Tries to Make His Case

I saw this on the local news this evening, and here's the local cat box liner report. There's a few things to consider.

The chief complaint against Carol Lam was that she wasn't prosecuting border smuggling cases hard enough. That came from republican White House operatives better known as GOP Congressmen.

Now, suddenly, presto ho ha,

Federal authorities Wednesday arrested dozens of individuals across the country suspected of bringing 18 tons of illegal drugs into the United States, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said in an afternoon news conference here.

Now, I ask you, this was a pretty far flung and complex investigation involving more than 100 agencies, foreign and domestic. It's pretty safe to say that this did not occur over the course of the time since Ms. Lam stepped down on Feb 15th, so it's also safe to say that the allegations against Carol Lam really don't hold any water. Which brings us back around to finding out why she and the other US Attorneys were replaced.

As Josh Marshall is reporting, it stinks of politics, and it appears that the Democrats are sinking their teeth into this one. Having Gonzales announcing the arrests here in San Diego is another indication the gopper thugs are feeling some heat from this effort to protect the GOP from more damaging investigations and convictions, Jerry Lewis and John Doolittle and Virgil Goode. But that guy is like kryptonite to humanity, and it doesn't sound like it's working much.

Again, the chief complaint against Lam was her supposed reluctnace to prosecute smugglers at the border. But this big drug bust makes those charges demonstrably false, which means that there is a criminal conspiracy being conducted to cover-up the real reason for her dismissal. And really, we all know what that is, we just need to prove it.

What is a Republican

As this newest article from Anne Hull and Dana Priest details, the conditions at Walter Reed should come as a surprise to no one. Yet just like Condi and her big "nobody imagined they would hijack an airplane and crash it into a building" lie, there are some who are shocked at these developments.

But what's important to see in all of this isn't fixing the problems at Walter Reed, that's the detail that gets us lost in the symptoms without diagnosing the disease. No, the thing that reveals all is the response of the Republican, Rep Young, R-FL-10 in this case.

Faced with a problem, and in a position to actually correct the problem, as Steve Soto notes, the POS RAN AWAY [My highlights]

Young said he voiced concerns to commanders over troubling incidents he witnessed but was rebuffed or ignored. "When Bev or I would bring problems to the attention of authorities of Walter Reed, we were made to feel very uncomfortable," said Young, who began visiting the wounded recuperating at other facilities.

Cheney hides in his hole, Bush hid in Air Force One, Young went somewhere because he was made uncomfortable, as opposed to the soldier laying in a pool of urine, or the families stranded at the Superdome while Brownie diddled himself and Condi shopped for shoes and Bush played guitar and golfed.

This is what Republicans do. They see a problem and they calculate it's impact on themselves, how they can benefit from it, what implication it might have for their long term dream of a modernized Dickensian world run by the corporate boardrooms.
Democrats try to fix the problem.

Whether they're capable or resolute or organized enough to do it is a different matter altogether, but that is in general what they try to do.

So tell me again, who would you prefer having run the government, selfish bastards who punish wounded soldiers for expecting their self professed troop loving republican government to actually follow through on their claims, or Democrats who actually proposed and passed these programs in the first place, and who truly do want to help people, the downtrodden and the weak and the insecure?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ahhhhh, Democrats

Was reading this miserable AP article when this line jumped up at me.

"Iraq is going to be there — it's just a question of when we get back to it," [Senate Majority Leader] Reid said.

That is about as inept a statement as any Democrat could make, and hopefully it doesn't gain much traction (I don't think my 3 readers will help much), but really, Harry, that shows a very tin ear.

I don't subscribe to the Dems are just as bad as Goppers, that they're in cahoots, bought and paid for, and so on. I do think they suffer from being on the inside too much to see the problems, and their corrective steps. Which is why I think we need to get on their cases, call and write them, as opposed to throwing them in with the republicans, since, that's what the gop wants us to do in the first place.

Look Harry, they own the media, and the media bleats what the gop tells them to bleat, and there's no changing that. The thing to remember though, is that the voters don't give a rat's ass about what the media says. We want us out of that hell hole in Iraq NOW, RIGHT FUCKING NOW, Harry, not later.

Look people, this is how the Democrats operate when you get more than a couple together. They dither and consider everybodies concerns, worry about what people will say, how things will appear blah blah blah. Christ on a nitro fueled pogo stick, somebody needs to step up and start driving this bus BEFORE it goes over the cliff already. Please, I'm beggin ya.

CNN Smears Vice President Gore

You've all probably read this piece at Kos, well, CNN just did their part this morning. I sent them some feedback, you should too. To wit:

I just heard your very brief "report" on Al Gore's energy use. If I heard it correctly, Ms. Stouffer said that "an environmental group" is criticizing Mr. Gore's home energy use.

This is some seriously poor reporting for a number of reasons, and I would like to see it retracted and corrected for the record.

First, you do not name the group. For all we know they could be a completely disreputable organization, or a group of two people claiming the label. This is horribly inaccurate and incomplete and misleading journalism. And as a matter of fact, I know who the group is, and they are not an environmental group at all, your reporter may have misspoken, regardless, since you left the group un-named, how could we tell?

Second, that group, "The Tennessee Center For Policy Research," IS a non-entity and hardly non-partisan, certainly deeply conservative, a fact you could determine with a little research. Look at who they link to, AEI, CATO, Club for Growth, Separation of School and State Alliance, all anti government, anti tax, highly conservative. And by reporting this group's attack on Mr. Gore, you give standing to an organization with NO standing, certainly not on a par with Mr. Gore.

Third, the attack is specious on many levels. Of course his energy consumption is higher than the average, his house is a bit bigger than the average home as well. And since you did nothing more than repeat this groups attack without verifying its validity or accuracy or context, you have simply participated in a right wing smear to discredit Mr. Gore and his message. As the Vice President's spokesman reports, "What Mr. Gore has asked is that every family calculate their carbon footprint and try to reduce it as much as possible. Once they have done so, he then advocates that they purchase offsets, as the Gore’s do, to bring their footprint down to zero."

Since you also don't report on what kind of activities go on in the Gore residence and guest house, such as intensive computer use, security equipment such as alarms, cameras, sensors etc, guests using the home as a research center, a well used home office, you know, figure out the context of WHY they use energy at the home, simply reporting a high level of energy usage is meaningless without that context, and, again, poor reporting.

Repeating a smear that begins with some conservative group of no real policy standing or credibility, and then moves on to a right wing smear gossip site like Drudge is poor reporting, shoddy reporting, lazy reporting, in fact, it isn't reporting at all, it's rumour mongering and partisan political attacks of the worst sort.

I want a correction, and I truly wish you people would do your damn job and, you know, RESEARCH before you report something. This charge against Mr. Gore is unfounded and nothing more than a conservative attack to try to stop us talking about global warming, and that CNN perpetuates that foolhardy behavior is almost criminal. Please stop. Report the NEWS, don't just repeat unfounded garbage handed to you. And don't tell us about time pressure, that is not an excuse.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Private Equity-Too Much Liquidity?

CNBC was gossiping this morning, talking about "the market" and they were talking to some guy (sorry, forgot his name!) about the big TXU (Texas Utility) private equity acquisition, and Mark Haynes (not a fan at all but he does ask the right questions from time to time, in between relentless cheerleading) asked if the deal wasn't so much about market conditions but really a matter of private equity liquidity, in other words, there's too much money available in private equity.

The trader somewhat agreed, and that's the point, really. Wonder where all of our money has gone? The "Market." There have been a large number of these privitization deals of late, due in large part, IMHO, because these firms have all of our money, courtesy of BushCo. Consider this snippet from one article discussing the deal.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Texas Pacific Group led a group that included Goldman Sachs and three other Wall Street firms that will pay $69.25 per share, or about $32 billion, for TXU, and assume TXU's debt. [...]

Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley also intend to be part of the purchasing group at closing [...]

TXU also said former Secretary of State James A. Baker III will serve as advisory chairman to the new owners, former EPA Administrator William Reilly and former Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans will join the TXU board.

Now, I'm not criticizing the deal, it sounds like there are plans for some seriously good environmental concessions as part of the deal, time will tell of course, The firms won support for the buyout from some environmentalists who have criticized TXU by agreeing to sharply scale back TXU's controversial $10 billion plan to build 11 new coal-fired power plants that would produce tons of new greenhouse gas emissions, there's that 'ol ubiquitous "some" for one, but it just seems to me that too few people have too much money, that for all of their incompetence, stupidity, and delusion, that's one area where the Bush Administration has been quite successful. And given George W's inabiltiy to find oil both in Texas and the Persian Gulf, you have to think that somebody else has been in charge of that part of the government.

If only that bunch had allegiance to anything besides money.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Al Gore's Truth

Just in case nobody noticed, Vice President Gore's movie won two Oscars, Best Documentary, and Best Song, "I Need to Wake Up."

I like what Ms. Etheridge had to say:

"Mostly I have to thank Al Gore for inspiring us, inspiring me and showing that caring about the Earth is not Republican or Democrat. It's not red or blue. We are all green. This is our job now, we can become the greatest generation, the generation that changed, the generation that woke up and did something and changed," she said.

Nice framing there, Melissa! And not bad for a freakin President, eh!

I finally watched the movie last weekend, a Christmas present for me and Ms. Duckman, and it's a great show. I thought it might make me angry and depressed, but no, it didn't at all. It truly motivates you, and that shows you how brilliant and effective the film is. It's not Michael Moore, Fahrenheit 911, another brilliant film, it's not political, it's reality, and it's not just about global warming, but it's about the journey of a man, a smart and warm human being who wants the world to be a better place and who knows that if we don't start working on Global Warming its not going to be a better place. And that's why it won an Oscar. Because the artist, a politician remember, shines through the film. It's personal and it's informative, alarming and devastating in it's condemnations, but Al Gore's hope moves throughout the movie.

Some of the scenes in the film that hit me the most were of Al Gore trudging through the airport, of him talking about the road he's been on. You can see in his words and voice how he's been through the mill, cast aside, purged by the hip and slick and oh so comfortable elites, and emerged stronger, and determined to ignore the bleatings of the David Broders of the world, disregard the deluded ravings of the frightened Cheney's of the world, and focus on something that really matters, something that affects every person on this planet.

Congratulations to all those involved in the movie, it may be the best thing any politician has ever done for their country.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Eyes on the Prize

Well it's great to see the Democrats busily attacking each other, hopefully we all can limit it to the Presidential Candidates please. Not the grassroots and progressives and everyday real Americans.

Eyes on the prize people, eyes on the prize. Your guy or girl or other may be all well and good, but just because they’re superior to mine, does not make mine Satan’s hand holder, mmmkay?

Yes, the DLC is pretty useless in this particular fight, because they seek compromise and commity and some form of status quo at a time when we need unity within the party to pull this country away from the disastrous GOP pole. And yes, Lieberman is a two bit empty suit and no longer a Democrat. And yes Barbara Boxer will continue to hear about her poor choice in backing him, but, back to the point, I’ll take a DLC’er over a Republican any day of the week.

The Dems won some power, but we don’t have any great power, except the power to check Cheney/Bush’s next moves. And we have an opportunity to make our case, to sway the public debate, to DEMONSTRATE to the public what we stand for, even if we can’t accomplish so much on the national stage.

For one, we can accomplish things on a smaller stage, supporting the policies of the national Democrats through demonstrable actions. I’ll give you an example. I belong to a Democratic Club in my community, a club on deaths door two years ago, dispirited, ineffectual, barely active and involved. But we got a new Club President, and he started to make a difference, started to pay attention to what was happening in the heart of Duncan Hunter territory, got others in the community involved.

He found the City Council was using taxpayer money to broadcast, on Public Access teevee, right wing fundamentalist propaganda films, and got them to stop. And now he's organized Citizen Oversight Panels to watch what the public agencies and elected officials are actually doing with our time and money, and discomfitting Republicans in Duncan Hunters home district in the process.

Here's an excerpt from a letter the Club President, Raymond Lutz, sent to the San Diego Union Tribune. As time passes these ideas will cause actions and reactions from the entrenched powers, as a vivid demonstration of what happens when Democrats take action. Attack the Republicans at all levels, make them react to us, force the complacent and co-opted media to pay attention and get the message out to a wider audience. It can be done, but not by attacking Democrats.

East County citizens have watched in disbelief as these forces took over the high school district, college district, ECPAC Theater, and certainly, the El Cajon City Council and the Redevelopment Agency. Now, some citizens have had enough, and have formed Citizens’ Oversight Panels (“COPs”) to provide oversight of councils, boards, and planning groups. Already, the group has a web site at, and they are having an effect, and are having fun doing it too.

At the last February 13th City Council Meeting, five “COPs” panelists appeared with golden badges to push for improved access to public documents, suggesting that the City Council agenda should be posted in its entirety on the City web site, that the city should avoid placing large agenda items on the consent calendar, and that the City rushed give free days at the East County Performing Arts Center to insiders without offering those free days to other organizations.

The republicans on the El Cajon City Council do not know what to do about this, and it's only going to get worse for them, and if it totally gets out of their control, what do you think it's going to do to Duncan Hunter? How many local scandals are going to have his name crop up? More than a couple, I'll bet.

See, that's how it works, not by undermining any and all Democrats because you don't like their stands on issues, or their advisors, or their groups, or their backers, or their skin color, or whatever, as opposed to your preferences. So let's go get us some Republicans and take away their lunch money and make them cry!!!!

Anger at Catholic Church Justified

[Cross posted at Daily Kos]

Just wanted to point out something in relation to the recent media driven frenzy over John Edwards' bloggers. We all know the story, I just wanted to give an example that illustrates a possible source for any enmity the ladies may have for the Catholic Church, not to be confused in any way, shape, or form, with the Catholic Religion.

Seems the San Diego Diocese is contemplating chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the face of hundreds of lawsuits regarding priestly molestations allegedly enabled and covered up by the Church itself through agents like Bishop Brom.

From an institution that wants to take ultimate responsibility for the very fundamental essence of one’s being, that seems to be what they practice, not preach. And that could reasonably lead to some anger and disgust with open minded people like Amanda and Melissa.

“Just like (Brom is) hiding in the diocese today, that's what this threat of bankruptcy protection is all about – to protect him,” Grant said […]

“The true and only reason that Bishop Brom wishes to file bankruptcy is to stop the upcoming civil trials and end the continued inquiry into his own role in, and responsibility for, the scandal in San Diego,” attorney John Manly said in a statement.

Read the letter from one group of affected parties. They challenge the timing, the stated reasons, the secrecy and lack of dialogue, even as the Church ignores their pleas for resolution.

Maybe that's why people get so pissed off at the Catholic Church, not the Religion, because they DON'T TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR ACTIONS.

And just because that Donohoe character heads an organization with the word Catholic in it, does not mean he represents the Catholic Church or the Catholic Religion. pity the Media can't seem to comprehend that, but you gets what you pays for.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Words to consider

Digby has this great post that compares gop words and actions, you've all probably read it, or you should, but I think you need to ask your congresspeople about it, especially if they're republicans. I think I'll send a letter to presidential wannabe Duncan Hunter and ask him what he thinks about it, he's a veteran, does he see any incongruity in the issue?

And maybe I'll ask him about the healthcare treatment of our Iraq war veterans, see what he says about that. The two issues are somewhat bound to each other. If I get a response, I'll let you all know!
The WaPo has this two part article on the consequences of Bush/Cheney's war, and even the headline writer seemed to be paying attention. The Hotel Aftermath is the second part, and just as tragic as the first part, and a bitter reminder, not of their incompetence so much, as how hideously this gang of cowardly men are serving us, with their delusions and ignorance and lust for power. I've said it before, I'll say it again, they aren't interested in doing a good job or serving the country, they are more interested in serving their master, mammon.

Maybe they've been taken over by a Yenaldlooshi, a Skinwalker, one who gain[s] power by killing a close relative [fellow Americans]... . They are known to desecrate sand paintings [art or beauty] by urinating, spitting, and defecating on them. They also practice cannibalism and necrophilia. Yenaldlooshi are also said to be able to create a pollen from ground human infant bones that when sprinkled on sleeping Navajo families, causes sickness, social problems, and death.

That sounds like them, maybe we need a hataalii to protect us from these creatures.

While Mologne House has a full bar, there is not one counselor or psychologist assigned there to assist soldiers and families in crisis -- an idea proposed by Walter Reed social workers but rejected by the military command that runs the post.

After a while, the bizarre becomes routine. On Friday nights, antiwar protesters stand outside the gates of Walter Reed holding signs that say "Love Troops, Hate War, Bring them Home Now." Inside the gates, doctors in white coats wait at the hospital entrance for the incoming bus full of newly wounded soldiers who've just landed at Andrews Air Force Base.

And set back from the gate, up on a hill, Mologne House, with a bowl of red apples on the front desk.

Who supports the troops, George?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Big Lie, Bush/Cheney Care

I got a letter from Sen. Obama today, asking for my support. It was a lovely letter, a sober assesment of the divide between the people and politics. He wrote of how politics has lost its purpose, that it’s treated like a sporting event, that our leaders have lost their way, that there is more common ground than divisive ground and that we need to move forward, not live in the past of partisanship. And he wrote aboutthe hopefulness of real Americans and their dreams.

Then I got an e-mail from the DSCC, with this bit: Today, Sen. Schumer talked about how meeting the challenges America faces begin with restoring our people's faith in government. Republicans - many hostile to the very idea of government - have bought us Iraq, Katrina and an unmitigated string of government failures.

Schumer touches on the point, the critical point, the unspoken point, that overlays everything that’s gone wrong in this country, a point that Obama doesn't seem to recognize in his optimistic talk.

Everybody thinks, wants to think, couldn’t believe otherwise, that Bush/Cheney are patriotic Americans, concerned with our founding principles and the normal operations of this country. You hear it from Hillary as she tries to explain her war vote, you read it in the words of Sen. Obama, Sen. Edwards, the Broders and Russerts and Picklers.

But as Chuck Schumer notes, they’re hostile to the very idea of government, and I’ll go even further and say that they’re more than hostile, they don’t believe in Democracy and the Constitution, don’t believe in the Declaration of Independence, don’t believe in the precepts of the Magna Carta, no, they believe in power unto itself, and nothing more.

And when you think of it that way you realize that what’s broken isn’t our politics, isn’t the institutions of this nation, but the Bush administration.

There are two systems in operation here, the one Obama speaks of, the one most everybody lives in, the normal world of reality, with all it’s bizarre behaviors and rank stupidity, it’s greed and selfishness, it’s sacrifices and duties and everyday heroics going to work or raising a child or stopping at a stop sign, and then there’s this other, fundamentally sociopathic world of Dick Cheney and George Bush.

The problem is in expecting BushCo to act in a way consistant with the reality world, when that world of policy and commity and goals and shared community, shared American heritage, doesn't exist for them. They don't care about us, about Americans, about veterans, about laws and decency and doing the right thing. Look at how they crap all over the veterans of their own war, let alone those from past wars. Does cutting funding for veterans, of leaving the National Guard troops out in the cold when it comes to benefits and care sound like a cry of concern?

Just this week the Administration admitted that they had underfunded veterans' health care by $3.7 billion over the next two years. And about 20 percent of all reservists do not have health insurance at all – approximately 12,219 in California, leaving them and their families without coverage when they leave active duty.

Disabled veterans in California face delays, barriers to getting benefits they earned. More than 41,212 in California are still subject to the disabled veterans’ tax, which forces veterans to sacrifice one dollar of their pension for every dollar they receive in disability benefits. In addition, there is a huge backlog of almost 500,000 compensation and pension claims, including those from veterans of the current war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Disabled veterans in California are still waiting approximately 181 days for their disability assessment.

Just keep reminding yourself, they are indeed hostile to government, and the incompetence they demonstrate is designed to make us think that our government, our politics, is the problem. They want us to throw the bums out, to lump the Democrats in with the republicans while they go merrily about their real business. Let's not let them get away with it.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Somebody to Love

You forget the power those songs from the 60's had, the drive and energy, the freedom they brazenly pounded into the air, smoke and tear gas blending with the musky sweet sweat of love.
I'm reminded of that as I listen to the Jefferson Airplane's "Surrealistic Pillow," truly the sound of the Summer of Love. Driving home today from work, after catching a burst of Air America, and as the haunting wailings of guitars subtly swirled behind Grace Slick or pounded a driving freight train ahead of her Somebody to Love, my brain tried to imagine people like Bush or Cheney or this Donohue freak or David Broder or Duncan Hunter or a whole slew of republicons plaguing us these days, showing that depth of passion, of humanity, of wondr. Yeah, it failed, profoundly.

Go ahead, you try it, put W in this scene, baby,
When the truth is found to be lies
and all the joys within you dies
don't you want somebody to love
don't you need somebody to love
wouldn't you love somebody to love
you better find somebody to love

When the garden flowers baby are dead yes
and your mind is full of red
don't you want somebody to love
don't you need somebody to love
wouldn't you love somebody to love
you better find somebody to love

It's truly astonishing that 40 years later we're having the same debates, that after being marginalized for the last 30 years or so these humorless and soulless people are again in power and trying to project their appalling lack of humanity into some grand display of worth and self, and failing horribly and with the same tragic results, broken bodies and minds, ruined cities, ruined communities, anger and hatred their legacy.

Back then it was drugs and sex that so upset the conservatives, that still plagues them, witness Bill Clinton's blowjob horrors, now I guess it's bad language or brutal truths about established icons like the Catholic Church or David Broder, crudely and directly expressed. I guess there's no denying the laws of thermodynamics.
Even in the most complex energy transformations, there is a forward direction to the process because only an outside energy source can reverse a heat-process within a closed system. The burning of gasoline in a car creates mechanical energy and heat. However, no process in the universe will allow the exhaust gases to re-combine with the heat energy and reconstitute the original gasoline: The heat energy of the burning gasoline has achieved a higher and irreversible state of randomization: The entropy of the system, and the universe, is irreversibly increased, as required by the Second Law.

The close relationship of entropy to the statistical laws of probability becomes clear when we hold a stack of five coins in a hand and throw them on a flat surface. Instead of retaining their previous order and proximity, they scatter and increase their randomness. The fall of the coins generated and dissipated the tiniest little bit of heat and the lack of this heat prevented the coins from reforming in the same stack as before. Entropy always drives all transformation of energy in such a way as to increase irreversible randomness.

It takes a lot of energy to stay that uptight, even as the consequential manifestations of that rigor is the chaos or untidyness we see in Iraq, in the loss of energy in our Constitution, in the spread of the blogosphere and its information dissemination.

Sooner or later these guys are going to pop, and hopefully there will be enough bits of order around to pull it back together for us to live out our dreams again.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Twisted Police Action Threads

Explain to me why the White House has to have a top double secret backgrounder without attribution to show all of their ginned up evidence on Iranian culpability in IED's in Iraq, why the reporters accept it as business as usual, and why nobody can put their name to the evidence.

I mean, other than being a bunch of lies like the last time, why the secrecy? It makes no sense in a reality world, what's the angle for Cheney? How does this serve the perceptions of the public who do need some swaying at the moment just for the PR campaign.

Okay, I heard CNN say something about Iran helping al Queda which the reporter should have stated outright is a contradiction, should have pointed out that the Iranians, if they're helping anybody it's the Shia of al Maliki, that would be the same party that we're supporting as they purge Baghdad of Sunni's, so, in effect, we, the United States of America, are helping the Iranians kill our own troops to aid the party with the least ties to the damn terrorists we're supposed to be fighting.

Did I get that right?

Oh, and since when have they started investigating the bombs and bombing sites? And, how much of the explosives were actually from the stockpiles that we failed to secure in the first part of the invasion of Iraq?

Friday, February 9, 2007

Note to the Dean

Mr. Broder,

You wrote this column entitled "Suggester in Chief" and I wonder if you might want to review what you said? I ask because, well, I find it hard to understand why you would think that Bush and the Republicans would do any of these things. (My underlines for effect.)

"But his main plea was for the president to take the temperature of Congress, by meeting personally with the Foreign Relations Committee and consulting seriously with its members, before settling on a policy for Iraq.

"The president needs some well-informed friends," Lugar said pointedly, and he warned Bush that people such as himself will not be ready to defend his decision if he simply waits and declares it after private discussions of the kind he has been holding within his war Cabinet.

After an election in which war-weariness was a motivating force for the defeat of Republican candidates, the president has to face the reality that the only decision on Iraq that can possibly command sustained public support is a collective decision shared with Congress -- not a personal order.

Any action he takes may still be thwarted by Iraq's own divisions. But if he does not bring Congress and both parties into the process, the policy will inevitably fail. He has to face that reality."

President Bush does not consult seriously with Congress, and he doesn't seem to face reality either. And Sen. Lugar certainly has, as the rest of the GOP have indeed done just that, defended his decision, else they would have supported the non-binding resolution of someone's, even their OWN resolution.

You write and speak with great assurance of your knowledge and standing in the great hub of the DC Beltway, yet there seems to be a bit of a disconnect between that picture and the ugly realities on the ground. Perhaps in your privileged spaces those truths don't stand up, but in the hot desert of Iraq, on the streets of over producing and underpaid America the truth is that George W Bush is not playing the same game as you.

You're playing this game of pretty JFK, the mighty heroes of the Greatest Generation, the vast "silent majority" confused by the lies and misapplication of history and intelligence in Vietnam; and our wonderful Decider is selling us all out through the delusional ravings of Dick Cheney and Doug Feith and Eliot Abrahms and Bill Kristol for the gains of Big Oil, you know, Exxon-Mobile's $39 BILLION last year, for the Media Monopolies (oh, so is Rupert Murdoch one of you now?) and the Military Industrial Complex that are the driving forces in our Chinese dominated economy (are the Chinese one of you now too?)

So when you write things like the above, I have to wonder. Are you feeling okay? Watching what you eat, drinking enough water? I mean, really, did you seriously think Bush was going to work with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and Howard Dean and Pat "Eff You" Leahy? Face reality? George W Bush, who has never his entire life faced reality, is going to start now, when the destruction of our government is fast approaching the drowning stage, when the corporate coffers are bursting out at the seams, when the ranks of the millionaires and billionaires are growing faster than anything?

I look forward to some introspection in future columns on your part, Mr. Broder, some reflections not so much on the accuracy of your columns, but the mindset that produced them, the sense of well being and entitlement that allows you to be so wrong about this subject you've spent your adult life writing about. That's what I'd like to see for your next column, not some claptrap about vitriolic bloggers saying nasty argumentative things on their blogs, (and later I'll send you some stuff that will curl your eyebrows) but some serious discussion about the lies and mendacity and greed and arrogance of the Bush/Cheney administration, and the failure of the news media to report on that substance.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Chalmers Johnson and the Dragon

I just got back from hearing Chalmers Johnson speaking at a Democratic Club meeting this evening, my advance copy of his newest book, "Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic" in hand. The thrust of his book is that the consequences of 60 years of American military imperialism has finally caught up with reality.

His talk was a history lesson, an explanation, and a warning, for future generations and would-be empires, here lay the foundations of your fall from grace.

His previous books discussed this as well, the notion of blowback, the coming home to roost of the consequences of our meddling and power projections, our arrogance and ignorance, and the power of the military industrial complex.

He's not real optimistic on our future, painting a bleak picture of the bind we're in thanks to our actions, beginning, perhaps, with the overthrow of the Prime Minister of Iran, Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, in 1953.

The original initiative to oust Mossadegh had come from the British, for the ... Iranian leader had spearheaded the parliamentary movement to nationalize the British owned Anglo-lranian Oil Company (AIOC), the sole oil company operating in Iran. In March 1951, the bill ... was passed, and at the end of April Mossadegh was elected prime minister.... On 1 May, nationalization went into effect. The Iranian people, Mossadegh declared, "were opening a hidden treasure upon which lies a dragon".

A dragon truly run rampant today.

Dr. Johnson posits that we do own this war since Bush did win the popular vote in 2004, and that we need to stop the policies of the M-I-C that only make matters worse. He said that we don't even see 40 percent of the military budget, it gets buried in the Veterans Department or Treasury war debts, or Homeland Security, or black operations, and this is feeding that dragon.

And that dragon, that's my word, he didn't use it, it just sounds so apropo from that article I referenced above, exists as Preventive War as Public Policy. It exists as our economy comes to depend on military spending, and he cites the Senators from Washington as an example, good liberals until someone mentions the word "Boeing" upon which they become ravenous blood thirsty hyenaes. It exists as deficit spending, "ruinous" spending that has brought us to the brink of losing our democracy to our imperialism. And he mentioned two examples of states that faced a similar choice, the Roman Republic-Madison's model for ours, and the British Empire.

The Romans chose, in a manner of speaking, to keep their imperialism, the Brits chose to give up their empire, albeit with many stops and starts and messy imperfections, but they saved their democracy in giving up their glorious empire, and they saved themselves in that choice. No Caligula or Nero for Britain, just the Good Queen Elizabeth II, her jewels and her castles and her pagaentry.

And he described Tony Blair as an atavistic response to old empire. My bold.

The American Heritage Science Dictionary -
atavistic (āt'ə-vĭs'tĭk)
Relating to an inherited trait that reappears in an individual after being absent from a strain of organism for several generations. Atavistic traits were formerly thought to be throwbacks to ancestral types but are now known to be due to the inheritance of a pair of recessive genes.

He was charming even as his message was somewhat depressing, but he did offer some solutions, abolishing the CIA, breaking the MIC, public financing of election campaigns, and busting up the media conglomerates. Here's his take on the quality of teevee news. "Watching the evening news is just a way of marking the end of the day." Sadly true, I would say.

But his other proscription was that our imminent bankruptcy would actually serve as some sort of salvation, as we would be forced to lower our standard of living, you know, live within our means, and throw the yoke of the MIC from around our necks in the process. Essentially he sees the US as enthralled by the dragon's yoke, our political system first broken, then tamed with little recourse in any of our failed institutions, the legislature, the judiciary, the press, the states. Of the states, he writes in his book,

[T]he drafters of the American Constitution produced a sophisticated scheme to balance power in a republic. The most basic structure they chose was federalism, setting up the states as alternatives to and limitations on the power of the national government.

Isn't it convenient that the National Guard is being destroyed by Bush in Iraq? And that's why I favor the Electoral College, it's another brake on power.

But that didn't sound very hopeful to me, so I asked him if he thought that the growth of the grassroots, the bloggers and MoveOn and DFA and Drinking Liberally and Code Pink and Cindy Sheehan and many others might not be helping to turn the Titanic from its doomed course? And speaking of icebergs, what impact did he think Global Warming was going to have on the dynamics of our current economic situation?

I didn't get a good answer on the first part, he liked the question but didn't have a ready answer, but he did think that educating the people was a good thing that might help, and he didn't address the GW part, which was okay. At least he's thinking about the question.

My thought on Global Warming is that it may indeed be our salvation, that it's so big and universal that it's going to change our paradigm entirely, that the issues that troubled us before won't matter so much in the future, that what cloud being you prefer won't matter much when all of the cloud beings are pissed off at all of us. That there will be such great opportunity in dealing with the problem and its manifestations that feeding the dragon of military spending won't enter into the decision making matrix of our policy makers.

Let me conclude this post with two more thoughts from Chalmers Johnson. One, he called Wal Mart an agency of China's industry, Wal Mart, that great All-American success story, and he said that Economics is the name of power, not aircraft carriers or cruise missiles.

And that's a war you could call a class war. Where the top 1 percent own 60 percent of the wealth of this nation, or whatever it is, see this DKos post for details. That's John Edwards Two America's, Jim Webb's divided America. And it's one we all need to participate in, from our purchasing decisions to our activism.

So all in all, a good show tonight, go ahead, buy the book, I don't agree with all of his assesments or views, but the facts are the facts, and this country needs to face up to them, if we want to have any hope of saving our Democracy from the Dragon.

US Attorney Update-Can't Tell Ya

It's always amusing when a White House official explains one of their decisions. In this case I'm refering to the recent spate of US Attorney firings. Now, check out this explanation and let me know if it makes sense, please. My bolds.

A top Justice Department official acknowledged Tuesday that more than a half-dozen U.S. attorneys were fired in the last year, in some cases without cause, but denied Democrats' allegations that they were dismissed and replaced for political reasons.

In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty defended the department's firing of seven U.S. attorneys since March, for reasons he would not divulge.

All the elements are there. Denial of the obvious, fired without cause, and remember, they've admitted that some of the changes were simply to give other people that notch on their resume, er, I mean, that experience, and the always popular, "I can't tell you, it's secret and would restrict the decision making ability and unfettered advice component required for the duly and proper exercise of the President's power to decide what's right for America."

Let's hope Sen. Feinstein pushes this issue.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Letter to No Point Broder

Atrios rightly crowns the frightened Dean Broder as wanker of the day for this pile, prompting a note to the useless Dean.

Mr. Broder,

A couple of things that I have to question about your recent column about the DNC meeting last week. What are trying to imply when you say this about John Edwards: "Edwards almost never mentions his own political history -- especially not his 2004 race as John Kerry's running mate."

Are you suggesting that there's something dirty there, something he needs to hide, what? Because that is the implication, otherwise there is no point including that line in your article, it holds no meaning except as a suggestion of things unsaid.

And what is the meaning of this line? "forgetting that few in this particular audience have much experience with, or sympathy for, the military."

That is a slanderous accuasation, a nasty slur on the patriotism of the Democratic Party and its membership, and I want a retraction from you, immediately.

How dare you. How many "Fighting Dems" ran for Congress this past election, many of whom won, I note? How many Democrats have served in the military, and how mnay members of the executive branch have done so? The Democrats are the party that wants to increase benefits and coverage for veterans, the party that wants to see our troops in the field properly equipped, the party that constantly proclaims their support for the troops, but not the mission foisted on them and us by this reckless administration.

I guess in your view wanting to pull our military out of the middle of a civil war, or whatever word you choose to describe it, of our own creation, in a war launched under false pretenses in a place unaffiliated to the threats we were facing at the time, a war whose conduct only proves the wrongness of President Bush's choices, I guess that makes the Democrats military bashers, right?

Better that they should sacrifice more of our military forces, people, you know, and capability to wage a hopeless and pointless war, heck, even to the point of expanding it to another place, much like the British did in their Gallipoli campaign in World War I, a hopeless and pointless meat grinder that cost the lives of thousands upon thousands of good men for no good reason.

Because that would clearly show the depth of our love and support for the military, right Mr. Broder?

Lastly, you say it's going to be great fun. I guess you think it's all a game, isn't that right Mr. Broder? Politics is just a board game to demonstrate who is the winner, the king of the hill, and never mind what's really at issue, the governance of this nation, the application of our resources to make this place a better home for all Americans and our guests and visitors.

I guess you have your piece of the pie, so you can play your games sans concern or humanity. That's pretty sick if you ask me. Maybe you need to retire and go play full time, since you don't seem to have much purpose in chronicling our political life.

And make sure you read what Oliver Willis says if you click through from Atrios' post. Because that is the truth, that crap is a bald headed lie.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Super Bowl Observations

First, let me say that i enjoy football, the drama and the strategy, the way a battle of wills, yes, will, is played out in a competitive struggle. The moves a guy makes to break into the clear, the strength, the willingness to go all out to make a play, a clean, resounding hit, an acrobatic catch, yeah, it's all good.

I've seen some great players in my day, the Don Coryell Chargers, Marshall Faulk hitting a hole like nobody I've ever seen for the SDSU Aztecs, and it's been fun.

But, the commercialization, the militarism, the overt so-called patriotism, the fact that the Chargers owner is a huge Bush supporter, as are many in the NFL, takes away from the game. And this god display after tonights game sure didn't help me either.

God doesn't care about the Colts winning, how absurd. God doesn't care if the two head coaches were godly men of god fearing ways and christian thru and thru. God doesn't care if you took the Bears and the points either. Let's face it, the Bears lost because their QB wasn't very good, at all.

As for the commercials, the companies spend millions of dollars on the time, and sometimes they run the same old commercial which seems pretty smart business wise, others spend millions more on a new, expensive ad, and they're all pretty much crap. Shitty beer commercials for shitty beer, bizarre or absurd commercials for failing car companies, seems to me they would be better off investing that money in their employees and their products, instead of hawking a humongous new gas guzzling Ford F-450 truck.

Lastly, I found a whole new ton of respect for Prince. Why? First, he played the show his way, at the end he had that look that said he'd done his job as a pro, "here's how you perform, people," like he'd nailed the performance, which he did. I guess he can actually play the guitar and sing a song without being utterly self indulgent, or utterly manufactured like Janet Jackson or Timberlake.

And damn if he didn't give the FCC a great big FU, with a devils pointed tail to boot, an intelligent FU mind you, that clearly demonstrated how ridiculous the whole nipple outrage thing was. Kudos to Prince for that, and a nod to Peyton Manning, who seemed to avoid any reference to god in his post game talk, maybe he's not so bad after all.

Friday, February 2, 2007

A Day Like Many Others

This is what I saw today on the home page of McClatchy News. Just click it. There's just not a lot of good news if you're George W Bush or Dick Cheney or one of the architects of this truly FUBAR mess that their fear and greed and associated ignorance and incompetence have created.

And there was more, and none of it, about 17 articles, not one single one, was a plus for BushCo. I find that pretty stunning, depressing, infuriating, pathetic, shameful, for our nation and our reputation and our future.

The kind of leadership that produces a news day like this is not doing us any favors, and they really need to go sooner, rather than later.