Monday, April 30, 2007

I Think They Call It Plausible Deniability

(Headline fixed, thanks for correcting my spelling, y'all!)

Murray Waas somehow has dug up some damning documents from the Justice Department, you may have heard.

Let me add this. It gives Gonzales the ability to say with a straight face that he knew nothing about the firings, he just approved the decisions made without being a part of them. He didn't know anything, which is why he can't remember anything when questioned.

But ask yourself this, if you had a manager working for you who had no clue about what was happening in his office regarding personnel, would you keep him on, or fire his sorry ass and let one of the people doing the work take over. And that raises another question.

What does Gonzales do with all of that taxpayer money he gets from his salary? People issues always take up a lot of management time, that's really what managers are there for anyway, right, making sure people show up to work and work within the rules. And planning strategy and monitoring the activities of the department. So what the hell does that useless man do with his time?

Somebody needs to ask him that question.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bill Moyer Returns

I got home from work last night, turned on the teevee to see if there was anything fun on C-SPAN, but Moyer's new show was on first, and that's as far as I got.

Just in time to see Moyer's carefully and respectfully questioning "The Media" about their failed coverage of the propagandizing the cause for a war with Irak (Timmeh).

When you go back and think about it, how and when did Iraq get into the dialogue anyway? When did we go from getting the terrorists to obsessing over Hussein's intransigence, his drive towards NBC's (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical, aka WMD's).

When the Beltway, Teevee media kept reporting what the White House was telling them without question. And Moyers gets those guys to expose their cowardice, their laziness, and their selfishness, every single one of them. Bob Simon, Tim Russert, Walter Isaakson, Dan Rather, all too scared of Bush and his Bullies Rover and Big Time to do their jobs.

"We might have gotten fired" or "the people would rise against us" or "our corporatations would lose access and money money money" they whined. Simply overlooking that if they had reported the truth, the facts, the relentless and never ending lies, if they hadn't buried the precious little important stuff they did report on page 18 and such of their papers or after the funny cat video, then maybe the American People could have figured things out instead of getting swept up in a war fever thanks to the utterly one sided propaganda of the Bush Administratin and the Big Time Media.

Yes, you need to watch the video. Moyers destroys them all very politely, pointedly, yet he asks the questions and gets answers that no invective blogging would ever get. He shows those fat cat and useless media tools exactly how you balance being on the inside and asking tough questions, he shows Tim Russert precisely, by demonstrating on ol Timmeh, how he should be doing his job, still keeping access, but actually holding up the powers that be to the light of truth.

Well done.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

On the Defensive?

Just read this piece from the Huffington Post via TPM.

How excited were we to have our first opportunity ever to talk directly to the Bush Administration about global warming.

We asked Mr. Rove if he would consider taking a fresh look at the science of global warming. Much to our dismay, he immediately got combative. And it went downhill from there.

I just can't let that pass, because it tells so much about the way things have turned for the Bushites. Turned towards the good for the country. Because 2 years ago, we would never hear about such an exchange. And Rover would never have been so nasty in public either. The rich and powerful don't respond to the will of the amorphus "people." They respond to power. He's wrong, of course, as his salary does come from the US Treasury, of course how much money he's making on the side remains to be seen, maybe White House advisor is a side job for him, eh?

As Josh has noted earlier, Abu's testimony didn't do anything for the White House, I was listening to the testimony this morning when Sen Feinstein asked him who made up the List, because somebody had to put the names down, and since Gonzales couldn't remember but said it wasn't him, and since Sampson testified that he was an aggregater but never put anybody on the list, and Battle knew nothing about it, attention has to swing to the White House for authorship.

And that can't make Karl too happy. And it's long past time for the country to see that odious man under the glare of the camera lens, long past time. That's part of what sank McCarthy, it didn't do Nixon much good, and it should have buried Bush after the first debate with Kerry, so seeing Karl in all of his glory should just about seal the deal, I'm thinking.

Why, you ask? Because Karl isn't Karl when he's being Karl, if you follow me. He's being himself when he's manipulating and managing somebody else. That won't work when he's the one under the lights, now will it?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

They're Not Indispensible

Two men, same story. Both soft spoken to the point of insipidness. Both feckless, fawning, toadies to the Bush/Cheney Axis of Venal. Both consider themselves as more important than the institutions they serve.

Says Bush's favorite death enabler, “I am committed to working with you in trying to restore the faith and confidence you need to work with me,” as if keeping his job was the main thrust of the hearings.

Says the neo-con warmongering ideologue, [l]ook, I believe in the mission of this organization, and I believe that I can carry it out. I've had many expressions of support, as well as the things that you referred to. I come back to what we agreed to in that communique, which is that we need to work our way through this, because it's more important for him to stay on as Bank President then it is to restore the credibility of the Bank. Really. Look, it's been a painful time for Paul. He said so himself.

Not only was this a painful personal dilemma, but I had to deal with it when I was new to this institution, and I was trying to navigate in uncharted waters.

Yes, that's right, ladies and germs, it hurt him deeply to get his girlfriend a big fat raise and a nice position out of his spit shined hair. Jeebus.

Gonzales, of course, takes the cake. In this version of the AP story they quote this gem: "The notion that there was something that was improper that happened here is simply not supported," Gonzales said, but, as they also noted in the article, you have to wonder how he would know that, given the [s]eventy-one times he fell back on faulty memory, saying he could not recall or remember conversations or events surrounding the firings.

After weeks of highly intensive "preparation" (another instance of a word reaching new heights of redefinition by the Bushites) this was the best that Gonzales could come up with? I still don't effing remember? In a normal world such a miserable memory would be cause for the removal of such a manager as simply intolerable. In the real world you don't become a powerful manager by being unable to remember the details and content of important meetings, it just doesn't work that way.

So clearly there is something else to this. Part of the strategy to impede, stall, and delay, justice and any rollback of the multi headed Bush/Cheney/Corporate/Neo-Con agenda, and part to keep in place those people who will carry out said agenda as long as possible. Look, there are plenty of people who could preside over the World Bank as well as and even better than Wolfowitz. Likewise for Gonzales. (D'oh, ya think?) But how many would carry out the corruption, the protection, the delusions, the coverups, and the abuse of those institutions for benefit of the Axis of Venal like Abu Gonzales and Wolfie?

The World Bank doesn't have a mechanism for removing the President. But they don't have a mechanism for NOT removing him either. So here's a suggestion. Get together, agree that he's a blight and an embarassment and a pox on their credibility, and fire his ass.

Congress does have a solution for Gonzales. Monday, the House should begin impeachment proceedings against him, then impeach him, then send him over to the Senate, where they can convict him for lying serially to Congress and obstructing justice and perjury.

Then let's see Bush pick replacements with integrity. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha ha!!!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

For Blacksburg

Darkness, Darkness
Be my pillow
Take my head
And let me sleep
In the coolness of your shadow
In the silence of your deep

Darkness, Darkness
Hide my yearning
For the things I cannot be
Keep my mind from constant turning
Toward the things I cannot see now
Things I cannot see now
Things I cannot see

Darkness, darkness,
Long and lonesome,
Ease the day that brings me pain.
I have felt the edge of sadness,
I have known the depth of fear.
Darkness, darkness, be my blanket,
Cover me with the endless night,
Take away, take away the pain of knowing,
Fill the emptiness of right now,
Emptiness of right now, now, now
Emptiness of ri-ight now.

Darkness, darkness, be my pillow,
Take my hand, and let me sleep.
In the coolness of your shadow,
In the silence, the silence of your deep.
Darkness, darkness, be my blanket,
Cover me with the endless night,
Take away, take away the pain of knowing
Fill the emptiness of right now,
Emptiness of right now now now
Emptiness of right....
Oh yeah Oh yeah
Emptiness, emptiness
Oh yeah

Poem 58

The way you talk
The things you've done
Make me wish I
Was the only one
Who could ever have made you laugh now
Could have made you
Made you want to cry
To have been there the day
You first whispered "I love you"
Yes I love you

When you discovered
All those new things
And when you first
First met the world
When you felt beautiful
And you said hello
To everything you saw
If I could have been all
So I could have known you all those times
I love you
Yes, I love you
Yes I do

Jimi Hendrix said that Terry Kath played better guitar than he did. I dunno, but he certainly takes your breath away on that song.

My condolences and thoughts to the people of Blacksburg.

What Bush Has Accomplished.

Watching CNBC this morning, they were talking about how the Market has hit a "New Seven Year High" and how great and wonderful that is.

Just to put that in some sort of perspective, what that really means is that under the Bush Administration auspices, the Market has rturned to levels that were last seen during the Clinton Administration. So basically, we're back where we left off under the leadership of the last President with a functioning frontal lobe.

Despite all of the record profits for the Exxon Mobile's and all, and I mean all, of the money that private equity firms have corraled from Bush's tax giveaways to the rich, we're as a nation of investors no better off then we were before this disastrous and deluded and wrong thinking presidency usurped their way into power.

Here's a decent business friendly run down of private equity firms, just note this tidbit:

The headlines about private equity have focused on the dollars rushing in. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts proposes buying Vivendi for $50 billion, a record-sized deal that would have been unthinkable just a year ago. Blackstone Group announces that it's raising a $20 billion fund, the biggest ever. Private-equity firms already own a growing stable of America's most famous companies - Hertz, Neiman Marcus and Toys "R" Us, among others.

Yes, private-equity deals are making investors rich. In the 12 months through last June, investments in PE firms returned 22.5 percent, vs. 6.6 percent for the S&P 500, says Thomson Financial.

Over the past ten years, the score is 11.4 percent a year vs. 6.6 percent; over the past 20 years, 14.2 percent vs. 9.8 percent. Those are significant differences, and some critics charge that huge fees and sweetheart deals with management are siphoning value from public shareholders.

That's what Bush has accomplished. He's enabled the transfer of vast sums of public equity and public earnings into the coffers of the rich and the richer. Never forget that fact.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Peeling Back the Web of Lies

You never know where an investigation is going to lead you, and this business about the USA's is a classic example of that.

What started out as a series of questions about the firings of a handful of US Attorney's has gotten out of the control of Rover and his team of bankrupt bullies. A bunch of people, including Republicans, have said that if they had told the truth from the beginning this would have all blown over in a week or two. Me, I'm not convinced of that, first of all, if it comes from the right it's a pretty much some flavor of lie, excepting the foma they would never use, second because I don't believe that they could just tell the truth.

Not because they're incapable of truth telling, a not unreasonable conclusion to arrive at, but because there is no acceptable version of the truth to this story that wouldn't have started this ball rolling, once the Democrats regained control of Congress. And why? Because the people they wanted to fire, specifically Carol Lam, were right in the middle of serious investigations that would require explanation from Congress. And telling them they fired her because they wanted to was not, and is not, cutting it.

But they had to fire her, because her road was going to end up in Dick Cheney's office, hell it already has, so they came up with a cover story to obfuscate, confuse, muddy the water is todays term, delay, trivialize, delay, and so on. Even if it costs them the Presidents favorite counselor, Alberto Gonzales, a willing sacrifice no doubt.

Ah, Dick Cheney, can't you just smell the sharp tang of petroleum products in the air at the mere mention of his name? Here's a reminder of what all of the actions of Bush/Cheney really boil down to, a story I don't recall seeing much, Laura Rozen linked it from her article above, but you really should read it to see our government in action. It has all the ingredients, and here's a taste.

"There were statements made: 'Don't bother the oil companies,' " Maxwell told the House Natural Resources Committee, which is investigating allegations of mismanagement in the royalty program run by the Minerals Management Service of the Interior Department.

[snip...]According to Interior Department data, enforcement revenue averaged well over $100 million a year during the 1990s, peaking at more than $331 million in 2000. In the six years since then, enforcement revenue has averaged about $46 million a year.

[snip...]The inspector general estimated that the Interior Department had reduced the number of auditors by 15 percent since 2000 and was completing about 22 percent fewer audits than it had six years earlier.

"It does appear that we're getting ripped off, plain and simple," said Rep Nick Rahall 2nd., a Democrat from West Virginia ...

The Interior Department is under fire for other problems in the royalty program as well. It is struggling without much success to correct leasing mistakes that could allow oil companies to escape $10 billion in royalties over the next decade or so.

And so the US Attorney investigation rumbles on, and now it has Rover in the crosshairs. for violations not directly related to the Purge, 5 million freakin e-mails????? Over 6 years, 50 people would average 45 e-mails every day of the year to write that much stuff. Peel the Bush White House onion and everything turns to ashes, lies and deceit. Everything. That story above, they were ripping off Indian Tribes too, you wonder who was involved in that? We don't need a special prosecutor, we need Elliot Ness to clean out this whole rat's nest of RICO violations. The Democrats need to start impeaching Bush's Patriot Act replacement USA's. They need to start removing Bush's appointees wherever they can, but Justice is the place to start. This simply cannot continue, we can't allow them to run out the clock. And don't think I'm criticizing Congressional Democrats at all, I'm not. I'm just saying what I think they need to do.

The thing that I fear, and you can see the media and rover setting it up, is that when the soulless Gonzales resigns to go back to spending time scrabbling in the dirt he "rose" up from, is that will be the end of these investigations.

Rover is setting up Gonzales, he being the perfect empty vessel following orders from his leaders, as the focus of all things evil in this White House. The media, being at turns complicit, lazy, shallow, insipid, and corporate, will certainly sniff at Gonzales' fall, then search eagerly for the first distraction to toss over his still warm carcass, but will Congress, the Blogs, and the Real Media do the same?

Not if I can help it, me and my legion of readers.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

More US Attorney purge

Yes, I can't get enough of it, and so, dear readers, neither can you!

I just wanted to bring attention to this graph from Glenn Greenwald's piece yesterday. For all the apologists and trolls who think that having a Justice Department that you can't trust to do the right thing regardless of the political party being investigated, explain to me why, if this is a whole lot of nothing, why Gonzales and company can't cooperate with the Congressional investigators? [My highlights]

Much of the evidence is, admittedly, circumstantial, but that is so precisely because we have not yet had full hearings with the key witnesses/culprits and full disclosure of key documents. And the reason the pool of information is still so incomplete is because the White House, cheered on by the national media, has steadfastly refused to reveal what it knows (and what it did), choosing instead to hide behind precarious assertions of "executive privilege."

Just like the Libby trial and conviction, there's nothing here yet because the Administration is hiding, covering-up, and probably destroying, the evidence.

And that tells us why there's no there there, because they don't want us to discover the truth. It's just like the stupid Anna Nicole paternity thing, the guy trying to block the DNA testing did so because he knew he wasn't the father. It's really as simple as that. We all can understand some reluctance to air out dirty laundry on the part of normal people, but this intransigence goes way beyond reluctance. It's part and parcel of how the Bushites operate, and they do it for a reason.

Because their actions are not in the least bit concerned with the interests of the American People, with our Nation, our Laws, our Traditions, or our Founding Principles. It's all about keeping the power they essentially stole and using it to perpetuate their corporate and neo-con and insane fundie wet dreams. Plain and simple.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Demonstrating Values

Here's a post from DKos that bears repeating, it's something I've been saying for years. It's a modest proposal that works on several different levels at the same time.

Devilstower argues that the money being raised for the 2008 election, some $1 billion dollars is an early estimate for the presidential candidates, is not spent very efficiently. The law of dimishing returns and our experience tells us that the 7th phone call to vote for Bill Richardson, the nth repetition of the same commercial, the 49th flyer stuffed in the mail box and deposited directly into the recycling can have a marginal impact that belies their cost, and that a candidate would be smart to do something else with that money. And he's right, I've done phone banking, and people get tired of the repeat phone calls rather quickly, nobody reads the mail crap after a while, and the commercials lose their grip after a while.

So Devilstower suggests that the candidates give a tenth of their campaign contributions to charity. As a DEMONSTRATION OF THEIR VALUES, although he didn't say it that way, that's how I've been saying for years. Rather than give their money for endless and destructive teevee commercials that tell the voters nothing, give it to charity, and get free publicity for doing it, I mean, of course the teevee would cover John Edwards giving Katrina Reconstruction $5 million dollars, that would rebuild a couple of houses and roads in New Orleans, or Barack dumping $5 million into the coffers of the MLK Foundation, or whatever charity these people like.

And the best part of it? The Networks and Cable Companies get none of that money. The Networks and Cable Companies who have attacked and smeared and trivialized and denegrated and marginalized Democrats for the past 20 years or so, ever since the Big Corporations sold out to the tawdry lures of the GOP.

Yes, I think it's a grand idea, it doesn't need to be charity per se, it could be funding Yearly Kos, or a Blogger Conference on Ethics, or Air America, or to staff a Democratic Think Tank, or to Broadcast Al Gore's movie, whatever, the point being to DEMONSTRATE DEMOCRATIC VALUES without buying a bunch of air time from the same people trying to destroy our Constitution and freedom loving way of life.

Politicizing Function

That's what this USA Purge is doing in the long term, even as the White House uses the US Attorneys to push their bogus voter fraud schemes, their Democratic investigations, and stopping their Republican investigations.

Way back in 1982 or so, I saw the Reagan WH doing the same thing to the environment via James Watt and his disciple Gail Norton, and that's when I got involved in politics, in my own small way, opposing the politization of the Executive Branch, opposing their corporate giveaways, opposing their unending violations of precedent and reasonable decorum. Looking back, of course, I realize what pikers they were, or maybe since they didn't own Congress it was just a matter of limitations imposed on them by a slightly less corrupt Democratic Congress.

Regardless, what we see today is the fruits of those labors begun in earnest by the Reagan Republicans. This CBS News article makes the case for the damage being done at the Justice Department. The writer is particularly blunt in his words discussing the actions of the Bush Administration. He concludes thus:

When you populate an office with ideologues and partisans and underachieving talent, you get an ideological and partisan office with underachieving results. And if there is any department in our federal system that can least afford to be ideological and partisan and underachieving, it is the Justice Department. This sorry state is true today, regardless of how and when the scandal over the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys is resolved. Of all the dismaying legal legacies left by this administration, this one surely ranks near the top.

Read the article, because it gives a deeper layer of context to the United States Attorney Purge. It shows the shortsighted and destructive consequences of the Mayberry Machiavellis, whose determination to seize and hold political power for their corporate masters and their stupid, ignorant, and just plain stupid and deluded ideology has led us to this point in history. The Corps, they don't mind the stupidity of Bush/Cheney/Rove and their ideology since they profit so handsomely from it, but for real, caring, human, people, we pay twice for their insanity, once to the Corps, once to the consequences of their wilful destruction of our government and its many and varied agencies, like our military and our justice system.

If you want a reason to impeach these fuckers, pardon my french but there it is, look no further than the Justice Department. And when Bush nominates his replacement for the faithful cur Alberto Gonzales, press your Senators, no blank check, no free pass, no uncritical deference because that crank is the President and he deserves the cabinet he wants. Screw that, he deserves nothing but a one way plane ticket to Amersterdam, which is in the same country as The Hague, if you know what I mean.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Local Politics Same as National Politics

Talk about corporate welfare, check out this beauty from the sleepy confines of not very sunny today San Diego.

First, a brief backgrounder. San Diego is a former Sleepy Navy Town that has been long dominated by Developers, Developers who would be perfectly content to pave over every inch of San Diego County if they could make money on it. With the drawdown in our military forces since the collapse of the Soviet Union, all of that juicy military property is a Grail of some sort for the developers, right on the bayfront of downtown San Diego, in places like the Broadway Pier Complex, right next to the cruise ship terminals, Ruth Chris Steakhouse, the USS Midway Museum, the Seaport Village tourist trap, Petco Park (home of the Padres) and an astonishing number of new high rise condo projects; and Liberty Station, former home of the USMC Recruit Depot, a scandal just waiting to be exposed, but not here.

And with development comes infrastructure, comes more development, comes taxpayer "improvements" meant to, well, improve the facilities and accommodations and constructions and businesses of the developed area. And of course, taxpayer money.

Take this noise abatement boondoggle in the article. From an estimate of $3.5 million to $16.7 million in two years, but that's okay, coz [t]he Centre City Development Corp. will pay for the Quiet Zone and nearly 60 percent of the suspension bridge with property taxes collected from downtown redevelopment. So who made the initial estimate, and the subsequently revised one in November for $7 million? And how did that revision get it so wrong, did I mention it was in November, electoral November, 4 months ago? But it's okay coz it gets paid for by property taxes for downtown redevelopment, remember? I'd like to see a breakdown on how much individual taxpayers are putting out to satisfy the downtown condo developers and how much the developers are paying. Might be revealing to see who is really paying for this, and it might be revealing to speculate on what tha extra money could get for the citizens of the City, like beginning to address the chronic sewer system failures or fixing the sorry road system in Downtown San Diego. As opposed to the Downtown Developers garnering the vast majority of the benefits, thanks to the kindness of the taxpayer. Now, I know what you're thinking, there goes Duckman ranting against the evil corporations.

Well, yeah, I am. I know that they aren't all bad, in concept, but the fact is that they have garnered so much power that they are totally out of control, so I oppose them, I rant about them, I try to show the disparities wherever I can, big and small. So these Downtown Developers who have been running San Diego County, not just the city, for decades, earn my ire.

You want more? Here's another oneThis article is just a part of the battle, as city attorney Mike Aguirre battles with other developers who basically want to take over the Municipal Airport on Kearney Mesa for development, it is a big chunk of flat ground and all, that's what this Sunroad brouha is all about, yet another example of Developer malfeasence and influence and even control of the government of San Diego. I mean, follow the story line for this garbage.

Jerry Sanders is oh so popular with San Diegans, thanks to his stint as Police Chief, and a successful(?) re-org of the local Red Cross after Their past financial scandals. He seemed moderate and reasonable, an upstanding citizen. Then along comes this strong mayor proposal that passes with the voters, and suddenly Sanders starts acting like a low level George W Bush, not sociopathic I'll grant you, and it's business as usual. The Developers are in heaven. It's like Michael Corleone and Hyman Roth's owned government in Cuba, only slightly less messy.

Check this out, does it sound like nothing to see here?

But first to the search warrant, and its case against Story:

Story left City Hall in July 2005 (though he continued getting paid into November).

He was told by a city Ethics Commission staff member in October that for one year he was restricted from contacting city officials on any project that he had worked on at City Hall.

Story soon was hired as Sunroad's vice president of development. His qualifications were solid: Before becoming Mayor Dick Murphy's senior policy adviser and chief of staff, he was a deputy planning director. In that role, he worked on a development agreement for the site where Sunroad is constructing its too-tall building. In his first year away from City Hall, Story e-mailed former colleagues seeking their help with his project. He also contacted city employees through intermediaries. In attached e-mails, city planners seem to bend over backward to help out Sunroad – or as one put it, to “make Tom Story happy. :)”

(Yes, that's a smiley face.)

The lobbying restriction was created precisely to prevent such favorable treatment – the kind the rest of us never get.

But the police chief didn't serve the search warrant, he called Mayor Sanders, the guy Story used to work for. And then all and sundry spent the next week slamming the City Attorney for serving the warrant and then outing the duplicity of the police chief.

Not attacking the warrant so much as, does this sound a wee bit familiar, the guy who proposed it. Is this anything different than Gonzales and Rove and Cheney and Feith and Libby and Novak and Boehner and Matthews and Russert and DeLay and Hunter and pretty much every stinking Republican in this country?

And it isn't about religion is it? It has always been about the tool of money, of power and greed and corporate control of our nation. Big or small, they all follow the same pattern, abuse of power to favor those who put you into power.


Finally, an unrelated, maybe, question for those who get this far. Why is it that teevee always shows the Ten Commandments on Easter weekend? I mean, Moses came along before Jesus, right? And while Passover does fall around Easter, it varies quite a bit. So why do they always play the Jewish Story on Jesus' Weekend? One has relatively nothing to do with the other, yet that's what you can expect to watch on Easter Weekend, Chuck Heston all shiny with sweat and reluctant to take on the responsibility laid out for him by God. Or is it just a conspiracy of the Hollywood Jews to subvert their will over the Christians on Resurrection Sunday?

And I know it's all just a spring holiday celebrating the rebirth of plants and good weather and what not, and I understand that Jesus was a Jew andthe Last Supper was probably a Passover dinner, but really, the Ten Commandments story has nothing to do with Christ, so, what gives?

Friday, April 6, 2007

Issa Trip Exposes WH Irrelevence

[Cross posted at DKos. And all bolds are mine.]

That's really what Darrell Issa has done, and judging by Bush's comments, it's obvious even to him, well, maybe his handlers. Funny, on the same day that Dick Cheney is trotting out that absurd canard about Hussein and al Qaeda being linked in unholy matrimony, Issa is in Damascus saying this:

He told reporters in the Middle East that Bush has failed to promote the dialogue necessary to resolve disagreements between the United States and Syria.

“That's an important message to realize: We have tensions, but we have two functioning embassies,”

As the reporter writes,

Whatever else Issa's trip may have accomplished, it seemed to take what little air was left out of the partisan rage over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's meeting with Assad just a day earlier.

President Bush's sharp criticism of Pelosi for her visit left the White House little room to move when asked about Issa's travels.

Events are leaving Bush behind, his policy of isolating Syria serves no purpose except to make war more likely and peaceful solutions to the chaos in Iraq less likely. Which, as we all know, is the Bush Administration objective, and why they need to be removed from office, as soon as possible, rather than later. When Cheney keeps trotting out his delusion speak to try to wrest the dialogue back to his perverted view of things, and when faithful soldiers like Issa slap Bush policy in the face, you know these guys have lost their standing. Like the chicken dashing about sans head, they just haven't had the reality sink in yet.

Consider this comment from Cheney's interview. He's also said the same thing if the bills are loaded up with pork, on nonessential spending. That would be to veto the supplemental spending bill of course. And by non-essential spending Cheney means funds for the victims of Katrina and FEMA, funds to ameliorate some of the devastating effects of the drought on our farmers, gosh, funds to improve the care and treatment of the Veterans maimed by Cheney's delusion run rampant and Veterans from past service to this nation. Yes, that's mighty non-essential isn't it?

Look, this Administration has been, in actual political reality, wrong or totally inappropriate on everything they've done or decided. Granted that they have done all of these things to perpetuate their clawlike grip on power for their real constituency, Wall Street and the Corporate Boardroom, that world is not the everyday world of people's lives, and those more or less removed from their rovian world are showing some inclination to try to return this country back to reality for the people.

Those most invested in BushCo, like limbaugh or Dobson or Doolittle or Lewis or Hatch will not change, but the tide of history is starting to turn against these lunatics, because what they want to do is not sustainable in the real world. We will see more and more of the Issa's of the country turn against these guys, and not a day to soon.

This business with Syria is a perfect demonstration of the realities, and the criminal values of Bush's "policies" as they play out in that real world. It's absurd, and detrimental, and only serves one purpose, to further their war, and all of the benefits that BushCo derives from that. Money, Power, Junkets, House and Senate Fiefdoms, Radio Talk Show Fiefdoms, did I mention Money and Power? And I don't think a place in heaven with virgins and grapes and what not is a part of what they want for themselves.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Time and Religion in the Schools

I got an e-mail from DEFCON today, and i sent Time a response on their cover story about teaching religion in schools. I also read most of the first of 4 pages of the article from Time. After swallowing some vomit I dutifully sent Time a letter, the essence being that, well, read on please, I'll bold my favorite parts.

There is no reason to be teaching the Bible in public schools, carefully or otherwise.

The Bible is a compilation of moral and religious teachings. Public schools are for educating minor children in the fundamentals of reading, mathematics, scientific methodology, engineering, artistic expression, logic, and reason. You know, tools and building blocks for future growth.

You can't "teach" the Bible in the schools without including all of the moralizing, the values, the dogmatic belief systems, the faith, and the righteousness. Not to mention, whose Bible are you going to teach? The Jewish Bible (hey, it came first you know), the Catholic one, the Methodist one, what about the Koran or the Hindu sacred texts? What about something for the atheists or the deists, what kind of Bible are you going to bring for them? Somebody else’s?

For a magazine that has more time for writing articles then a newspaper, it's pretty shocking how shallow you have become. It's like you're trying to compress seven days of car chase stupidity into a weekly magazine, instead of doing in depth and truly thoughtful and well researched work.

Why didn't Time do the story on the conditions at Walter Reed, instead of a daily newspaper? Why hasn't Time researched the purge of the US Attorney's and the lies and dissembling from Gonzales and Crew that have followed the revelations of the Purge? How many people have resigned from the White House so far because of that story, and yet you want to write dreck about teaching that damnable book in Public Schools?

I guess because the religious fundamentalists of America have been screaming and shoving their precious Bible down our throats, it behooves the public schools to cave into that fundamentalist revisionism and start teaching their creed, since, to quote your lovely piece, "But then religion rushed into the public square."

All by itself it rushed into the public square, right? Dobson and Falwell and Robertson and Reagan and Bush evangelicalizing and fomenting their neo-fundamentalism on America, and we're expected to accept that frame and buy into the notion that Religion, IXOYE style, is an intrinsic part of the American psyche, so gosh, we better teach it in the public schools.

If Thomas Jefferson were alive today he'd probably spend all of his days fused to his toilet, vomiting in despair and revulsion at what America is becoming, the antithesis of what the American Revolution was all about, a revolution of mind and spirit that Jefferson expressed in our Declaration of Independence. Teaching religion in the schools because a bunch of hypocritical blowhards with access and influence want to propagate their insidious fundamentalism hardly seems like a reason for rejecting the very foundations of this country.

But hey, your religion writer had a deadline to meet, right?

[Was that too harsh for Time? Think they'll publish it?]

Brent Wilkes Plays Carol Lam Card

Brent Wilkes lawyer, Mark Geragos, the same guy trying to screw the city of San Diego for Alex Spanos, has his hand in the Brent Wilkes Randy Cunningham scandal too. Now he's playing the card dealt him by A Gonzales for his client, Brent Wilkes.

A lawyer for former Poway defense contractor Brent Wilkes told a judge yesterday “there is no way” his client will plead guilty to charges stemming from the Randy “Duke” Cunningham bribery scandal.

The lawyer, Mark Geragos, also said he planned to seek dismissal of the case because he has reason to believe former U.S. Attorney Carol Lam may have leaked secret grand jury documents to the media.

Even though Ms. Lam's dismissal for cause has been well and truly repudiated, the issue opens enough of a door for a snake like Geragos to stick his foot in, with this claim that Lam leaked grand jury documents, he hopes to get Wilkes off without a trial.

So far, the judge doesn't seem to be buying it, and given what I remember from local reporting, I can't recall any reporting based on GJ leaks that amounted to anything more than the whisper that Wilkes and Foggo were going to be indicted, and given that we all were quite familiar with their involvement, that wasn't much of a leak.

But it's enough for Geragos, that suggestion of impropriety, and he's going to try to use the Democratic investigations of the USA Purges to bolster his case.

In court he referred to e-mails – unearthed as part of the congressional investigation of the controversial firings of Lam and seven other U.S. attorneys – that supposedly bolster his position. After court, he would not elaborate.

Fortunately the case seems to be proceeding, and I have to like the comments later in that article that suggest Geragos is full of it.

A scenario in which Lam was thwarted by the Justice Department, then leaked documents to the press to ultimately obtain indictments, seemed far-fetched to some lawyers familiar with the office's protocols for obtaining indictments.

“If the Justice Department balked, I would think they would not give approval and she wouldn't have returned the indictment,” said defense attorney Charles LaBella, a former San Diego U.S. attorney. “I just can't imagine a U.S. attorney would ignore the approval process. It's not consistent with how Carol operated.”

But consistent with how a Bushite would operate. So the judge will hear arguments on May 14, and he's set a trial date before September.

Just remember, Wilkes is the one with all of the dealings with the Congressmen, Hunter and Doolittle and DeLay etc. He's the one involved with the CIA, he's the one who probably is/was CIA, and with his procurement buddy Foggo, he's the one that can uncover a lot of the general corruption of the Republicans in Congress. I don't know who's a bigger fish, Wilkes or Abramoff, but it's worth a full scale investigation to find out. Here's hoping the Interim USA for San Diego is a professional and not a crony. More on that later.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

An Amusing Sensibility

I can't get past this paragraph in the latest battle over this Sunroad building being constructed near Montgomery Field, a commuter airport in the busy commercial district of Kearney Mesa here in San Diego. Home to Cubic and Titan and many other corporations, Sunroad has risen like a blight on the airport.

Despite FAA objections, but with the support of unnamed City planners, the building continues to reach skyward, 180 feet, alas the FAA has a limit of 160 feet, but nobody seems to care. Read the article, it gives a pretty good rundown of the machinations of business getting what they want despite governmental objections, but take especial stock of this graph and my bolded part:

Those permits were issued before the FAA was made aware of the building and declared it a hazard. City building officials have said they had no indication before the FAA's declaration that a tall building near the airport would be dangerous.

No idea at all!

The problem here is twofold, one that the City Planners are entrenched conservatives who have always favored business over the public and the community, and secondly that business is a part of the community peripherally at best. You can see that play out time after time, when Ford plays town after town against each other for the latest factory, when a Circuit City devastates their workforce with their disgusting job cut/pay cut proposal, when Blackwater tries to run roughshod over some tiny little mountain/border community in order to build a "training" facility, one that would sure make privatizing the Border patrol all that much easier.

Yes, it's as old as civilization, the dangerous overreaching always laying in wait to seize advantage and accumulate the wealth of the community for its self. Which is why we must oppose it, to restore balance and equilibrium. At all levels of society. From DC to SD to NOLA and all points in between.