Friday, March 30, 2007

The Bush Administration and You

I cite these articles to remind you what the Bush Administration is all about. If you thought it was about Christ, you're wrong, Christ is just a tool these people use to activate their base for the dirty grunt work of signs and thuggery and intimidation and bal, er, envelope stuffing.

If you thought it was American Exceptionalism, well, that's just propaganda for the patriotic people too busy trying to keep afloat to pay attention.

Thinking it was geopolitical hegemony to protect our oil, well, that's closer, but it's more a symptom than a cause.

No, this is what they're all about, and don't forget it.

Income inequality grew significantly in 2005, with the top 1 percent of Americans – those with incomes that year of more than $348,000 – receiving their largest share of national income since 1928, analysis of newly released tax data shows.

The top 10 percent, roughly those earning more than $100,000, also reached a level of income share not seen since before the Depression.

Everytime you hear Sen. Grassley toss aside a comment about how well the economy is doing, everytime the Wall Street Trumpeters wax poetic about the greatness of the latest chart topping DOW number, just 30 companies out of the thousands traded on the stock markets or in private hands you realize, recognize that they aren't talking about you or I.

Now that gas has gone over 3 dollars again, and is likely to stay there, let's see, it's gone up about 50 percent in the last 2 years say, but has your income gone up that much in the same time frame? Talk about priorities, how's this for priorities?

“The nation faces some very tough choices in coming years,” he said. “That such a large share of the income gains are going to the very top, at a minimum, raises serious questions about continuing to provide tax cuts averaging over $150,000 a year to people making more than a million dollars a year, while saying we do not have enough money” to provide health insurance to 43 million Americans and cutting education benefits.

Here's some other stats to choke on: The new data also show that the top 300,000 Americans collectively enjoyed almost as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans. That's about 1 percent of our population of around 300 million people making as much money as nearly half the country, 150 million Americans.

And the same thing seems to be happenng in Canada too. Coincidence? I don't think so. The fact is that everything the bushites have done has been to strip this nation of her wealth and put it into the hands of a select few. Hell, of the world really. That's why trouble makers like Hugo Chavez cause such vitriol. That's why Rove plots and schemes and lies and intimidates to perpetuate republican control, why Dan Burton gets so pissed off at Henry Waxman for pounding that hapless tool running the GSA, that's why Carol Lam gets fired for doing her job their way until she started looking at them, why my least favorite Senator ever, Orrin Hatch, licks the boots of Kyle Sampson for the Bush regime.

What did Bush do when he first got into the White House? Loosen all the bonds of responsibility he could for business, especially big business, and push those big tax cuts, "right away!"

This is the rhetoric about the economy: After meeting with economic advisers and members of his cabinet at his ranch here, Bush said the economy is humming in large part because Republicans cut taxes aggressively during his first term in office and are ahead of pace to cut the deficit in half by 2009. "The economy of the United States is strong and the foundation for sustained growth is in place," Bush told reporters. Yet at the same time the PEOPLE say this: Yet the economic gains have not translated into political benefits for Bush, as recent polling shows a majority of Americans are not satisfied with the president's handling of economic issues. People are expressing concern to pollsters about several economic factors, including gas prices, health care costs and whether the housing bubble is about to burst. That's because of this, from the Times article above, read those bold numbers and weep.

[A]verage incomes for those in the bottom 90 percent dipped slightly compared with the year before, dropping $172, or 0.6 percent. The gains went largely to the top 1 percent, whose incomes rose to an average of more than $1.1 million each, an increase of more than $139,000, or about 14 percent.

That's what the Bush administration is all about. Money for them, none for you.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Grilled Mueller with Avocado Butter

I just got home and I was watching an enjoyable performance on the teevee. No, it wasn't some symphonic masterpiece, a reunion concert of a bunch of old and withered rock stars, not even the running of a classic black and white Japanese Kurosawa film. Nope, it was simply a display of elective consequence.

Robert Mueller was squirming under the disbelieving questions of a handful of Senators, trying desperately to justify and explain the actions of the FBI, aided of course by that Senator from Alabama, Sessions, and the whiner from Utah. Last year, Mueller would have had a couple of glare downs with Sen. Feinstein, maybe some curt words with Sen. Leahy, and that would've been that. Just another drive-by bricking of America's windows, and soon done.

But not this time. And it was a pleasure to see.

It happened, Mueller said, because of "mistakes, carelessness, confusion, lack of training, lack of guidance and lack of adequate oversight."

Then came this line, which senators didn't find reassuring either:

The FBI's use of inaccurate information to obtain secret search warrants? The problem was "very lengthy documents . . . with thousands of facts."

See, this is what we voted for, an end to this nonsense. Feinstein and company aren't buying the incompetence canard so much, because they don't have to. And when you look at the forces peeling back the layers of corruption being revealed by the purging of those US Attorney's, you see substantive, concrete, changes thanks to 11/7/06.

Just listen to the bleating from the Bobo's and Broder's out there, trying in their own timorous ways to head off the Democratic investigations threaten their grip on power. They know that once this train gets a rollin there will be no stopping it. And know this, my friends, for all of its horrors and heartbreak, for all of the destruction being wrought to both Iraq and the United States, the Iraq Invasion and Occupation is not the heart of the matter, is not the purpose and mission of this Administration.

Iraq, al Qaeda, Incompetence, US Attorney's, NSA spying, Evolution in Kansas, Mexicans at the Border, all these things are symptoms or distractions or both for what they really want, a Corporate Government. They don't want to do the actual governing work, that's too tedious and quaint. They just want to be the puppet master greasing the skids for their access to all of that USA cash.

That's what is a the center of the US Attorney purge, Carol Lam's investigation. Josh Marshall has been all over this from the get go, and every day it gets darker and higher up the food chain. Don't think this is about Alberto, no this is all about stopping Lam's investigation, and if we have to fire some decent people and gut 6 or 8 other investigations in the process, so be it.

Consider this piece from Copley News Service

First came the May 11, 2006, exchange between Justice Department officials suggesting Lam's removal, the day after she notified them she would serve search warrants on former CIA Executive Director Kyle “Dusty” Foggo.

It was a week later that Mercer revealed in an e-mail that Lam's situation “now has Frist's attention” – referring to then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Republican struggling to ensure his party retained control of the Senate in the upcoming November elections.

Two weeks after that, Mercer questioned the wisdom of giving Lam more resources.

The day after this Mercer missive, Sampson directed Mercer in an e-mail to have a “heart-to-heart” with Lam about “the urgent need to improve immigration enforcement in San Diego.”

“Put her on a very short leash,” Sampson wrote. “If she balks – or otherwise does not perform in a measurable way by July 15, remove her.”

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out what's happening here, it's all about the contracts and the access and the jobs for spouses and the burnishing of the image with those lavish charity dinners that cretins like Randy Cunningham wallowed in, the dismantling of the structures and reputations of our government so they can replace it with something more lucrative. That's the Heart of the Matter. And that's what these investigations are going to reveal. Because they've stepped on too many people to get to this place, people once on their side but now tossed aside or under the bus, and much like an Iraqi whose home has been invaded by American GI's, revenge is their coin.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Senatorial Embarassment

Watched VP Gore tonight talking to the Senate. Inhofe musta made ol BartCop proud with that performance. He truly torpedoed his efforts by being such an asshole about the whole thing, I don't think he earned many points with his folks back in OK with the respectful way he treated the former Vice president and Senator and Academy Award Winner, and if my memory serves me, at least this is what the GOP is always preaching about folks in the heartland, it's that they are respectful of people like former Vice Presidents. Not so Jimmy Inhofe.

Call it what you will, wankery, ignorance, fundy fruitiness, general rudeness, I think it was just an act by a desperate man fronting for his masters, Big Oil and Big Utilities. Because Mr. Gore talked about the one thing that can truly get us off of the oil monkey, truly impact global warming, really move in a way that makes us all part of the solution not the problem, that empowers Americans in ways the GOP can't really internalize (to use a phrase from Mr. Gore today) at all.

Distributed energy production. Instead of one big power plant we all shackle ourselves to, Gore thinks we need to have distributed power, and guess who loses in that scenario? Corporations, that's right. And thus we get that ridiculous performance by Inhofe. He's not crazy, he's not even that stupid (yeah, I know, he is that stupid, but a different kind of stupid bred out of greed and fear and personal cowardice), but in reality he's just a tool of the money that doesn't want anything that gives power to the people, literally in this case, at their expense.

You want to get back at those guys? Buy something solar powered, get a little wind generator for the backyard, something that moves you towards distributed power and away from centralization and the attractive colors of its lures, away from those fur lined handcuffs dangling before you courtesy of Springfield Power, away from the tempting Power Company Marlboro Man.

That's what they fear, and that's why they seek to destroy Al Gore, environmentalists, why they attack the very notion of global warming. Why, it's the same strategy they used when Kerry said that nice thing about Cheney's lesbian daughter, attack since the contradictions exposed by Democrats would fracture the GOP coalition of the insane and the insatiable.

It's the same strategy they use for everything they do, the war, US Attorneys, Aids, Global Warmng, Cafe standards, you name it, attack so you won't look at the reality and fracture their untenable coalition of the insane and the insatiable. I repeat that coz it sounds kinda catchy!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Nixon and Bush

[cross posted at DKos]
As I was reading this AP piece, I couldn't help but visualize Richard Nixon solemnly swearing that these stacks of transcripts

In these folders that you see over here on my left are more than 1,200 pages of transcripts of private conversations I participated in between Sept 15, 1972, and Apr 27 of 1973 with my principal aides and associates with regard to Watergate. They include all the relevant portions of all of the subpoenaed conversations that were recorded, that is, all portions that relate to the question of what I knew about Watergate or the coverup and what I did about it.


As far as what the President personally knew and did with regard to Watergate and the coverup is concerned, these materials—together with those already made available—will tell it all.

Bush says this:

The president cast the offer as virtually unprecedented and a reasonable way for Congress to get all the information it needs about the matter.

"If the Democrats truly do want to move forward and find the right information, they ought to accept what I proposed," Bush said. "If scoring political points is the desire, then the rejection of this reasonable proposal will really be evident for the American people to see."

You want it made more clear? Try this, first Bush, then Tricky Dick.

Bush said he worried that allowing testimony under oath would set a precedent on the separation of powers that would harm the presidency as an institution.

"My choice is to make sure that I safeguard the ability for presidents to get good decisions," he said. "If the staff of a president operated in constant fear of being hauled before various committees to discuss internal deliberations, the president would not receive candid advice and the American people would be ill-served."

Ever since the existence of the White House taping system was first made known last summer, I have tried vigorously to guard the privacy of the tapes. I have been well aware that my effort to protect the confidentiality of Presidential conversations has heightened the sense of mystery about Watergate and, in fact, has caused increased suspicions of the President. Many people assume that the tapes must incriminate the President, or that otherwise, he would not insist on their privacy.

But the problem I confronted was this: Unless a President can protect the privacy of the advice he gets, he cannot get the advice he needs.

This principle is recognized in the constitutional doctrine of executive privilege, which has been defended and maintained by every President since Washington and which has been recognized by the courts, whenever tested, as inherent in the Presidency. I consider it to be my constitutional responsibility to defend this principle.

Other than the fact that Nixon could speak without sounding like an idiot, is there really any difference between these two Presidents, the heretofore reigning Worst President Ever and the Hands Down New Champ?

The discussion and overanalysis of the "Constitutional Crisis Question" will continue regardless of what I say, but NOW is the time to back up the Democrats on this. Bush's "offer" is an insult, a joke, a charade, to not just Congress, but to every American living or dead, an insult to the troops dying for greed and hubris, an insult to the taxpayers who fund this government (He [Bush] added that federal prosecutors work for him and it is natural to consider replacing them. [Actually they work for the American People you feckless git]), an insult to my Dad who taught 6th grade for 30 years, my Mother who taught me decency and compassion before she passed, to my sweet little Gramma who taught me about family and homemade desserts and scratching each others back while watching Hawaii 5-0, yeah, that was some offer he made. No oath, no press, no transcript, pretty much never happened.

Here's the link to the House Judiciary Committee, here's the link for the Senate Judiciary Committee, and here's its contact page. Use it.

Friday, March 16, 2007

More Lies From the GOP

You have to love House Democratic Whip James Clyburn's comments yesterday about Abu Gonzales and company from this AP screed:

"They don't know anything about running government. They're just political hacks," Clyburn said at a news conference in Columbia, S.C. "Gonzales is just a political hack."

Their hackery goes beyond The Purge, and Plame, and Iraq, and Tax Cuts, of course, and here's another one.

Via The Wilderness Society we get an example of another way they operate. The National Wildlife Refuge System is getting stressed to the breaking point, and here's how they do it.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is intended to fund acquisitions of areas of value to the refuge system, yet of the $900 million from oil and gas royalties available, Bush and the GOP Congress spent 16 percent of that, and Bush has proposed to spend 6 percent next year. Of course the new Democratic Congress will probably reverse that trend, but the fact remains that the Bush Administration is not a good steward of our lands, our laws, or our people.

They've done this same dodge with Aids in Africa, and countless other programs, budget a bunch of money but never spend any, the only purpose being to claim they increased the budgets, even though they didn't spend the money. It's just another LIE from the mouths of George W Bush and his soulless coterie of fiends and hacks and incompetents, just to prove that government doesn't work so we need to privatize it.

That's all they do. See, we increased the budget, and the place still fell apart. Government can't do the job, private industry can ride to the rescue better and cheaper. Of course, as Scout Prime is chronicling about the latest New Orleans Katrina outrage, and gee, guess what, the Bush's are involved, well, maybe if by rescue you mean liberate millions from the taxpayers for the corporate coffers in return for supplying goods and services that don't work.

I really don't like these people, at all.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Attorney's and Corruption

Paul Krugman raises a good question, and i was very happy to hear Chuck Schumer make the same point today during the Judiciary Committee hearing. What about the ones not fired? For instance,

[T]he subpoenas that Chris Christie, the former Bush “Pioneer” who is now the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, issued two months before the 2006 election — and the way news of the subpoenas was quickly leaked to local news media.

The subpoenas were issued in connection with allegations of corruption on the part of Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat who seemed to be facing a close race at the time. Those allegations appeared, on their face, to be convoluted and unconvincing, and Mr. Menendez claimed that both the investigation and the leaks were politically motivated.

Then there's this piece from New Mexico regarding a local Democratic scandal involving courthouse construction. Here's the key line in the article, after all the Rove involvement is discussed: The courthouse controversy has yet to yield indictments.

We've all heard about this study that out of 375 investigations, 298 involved Democrats. Seeing as how there's some rough parity of elected officials party affiliation across the country, you would figure the numbers would be more like 200 GOP and 150 Dem and the rest others, but then you wouldn't be thinking about who's involved here. Karl Rove, Mr politics is policy.

I have to hand it to the committee today, Schumer made that point, Feinstein made some good points about the obvious politization involved here, and she countered when that jackass Kyl threw in the Clinton fired all 93 US Attorney's canard. And I have to question that based on this article from Minnesota Public Radio, (my bolds) to wit:

Tom Heffelfinger resigned his post as U.S. attorney in Minneapolis last February. He had served two stints -- the first from September 1991 to April 1993, and then again from September 2001 to February 2006. President Clinton took office in January of 1993, so there's one USA he didn't fire, it would appear. I'll bet there's others who they asked for and received resignations from, but who then stayed for a while until replacements were found. After 12 years of Reagan and Bush you know damn well they needed replacing by Democrats, that's just too long for one party to control their positions, especially given the corruption and cronyism, a pale spectre of Bush/Cheney's but present nonetheless, of Reagan and his Spymaster Bush.

Somebody at TPM Muckraker said that Abu would resign and that would be the end of it. But I say no. Perjury is a felony regardless of your employment status, and there are too many threads of corruption running around this issue to be satisfied by the scalp of that wretched little man Gonzales. Not that he's ever going to talk, he knows what would happen to him if he did, there'd be no spider hole deep enough for him to hide in, but putting the squeeze on him and his wretched flunkies is bound to achieve results. Hey, it worked for Khalid Sheik Mohammed, right, it oughta work for Abu G.

GOP Demonstration

Just heard Trent "Where's My Porch Brownie?" Lott waxing on about how the Senate can't get anything done, blah blah blah. Two things came to mind. One, then vote for the Democrats bills you petulent hack, and, more tragi-comically two, if only the Democrats had acted this way as a minority party.

It would have been so simple in so many cases to just say no and not allow debate to stop on anything of substance, to just block the GOP, there weren't 60 Republicans at any time, even counting Joe Lies A Lot, sorry, that's Condi's handle, Joe Lies About His True Values (Kiss kiss, smoochie smoochie Goeorgie poo!).

But alas, the Democrats haven't quite gotten the knack of putting your values, as represented by your Party, ahead of your own personal ambitions or beliefs, in order to place yourself in the POSITION OF BEING ABLE TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. Maybe if they had 80 Senators and 350 Congressmen they might be able to push forward with getting what 60 to 70 percent of the American People want, us out of Iraq.

Certainly the *Blue Dogs* haven't figured it out, and yes, it's been a long standing Democratic traditiion to circle the firing squad and act like a bunch of cats on catnip, but now is the time to break that tradition, don't you think?

Instead of a Donkey maybe the Dems should adopt a frightened hen as their fetish, for all the good they APPEAR to be accomplishing. And that's the root of the problem, they keep on ceeding the PR battle to the Goppers, they continue to reinforce the Gopper framing of what is a Democrat, and you don't win friends and influence getting framed as a s bunch of gutless wimps, Henry Waxman and bouncing Abu Gonzales notwithsatnding.

I mean, it won't be the Democrats who get credit for purging us of Little Himmler, it's going to be John Sununu and the other "Brave" Republicans who cross the lines to get rid of that terrible liability hanging around Bush's scrawny neck, which of course further insulates Bush from responsibility for his own administration and its multitude of crimes and outrages. Now if the Democrats were to lead the charge they could hammer both Little Abu and Lil' Boots mercilessly and DEMONSTRATE Democratic vs Republican values, but that would require some fortitude and unanimity so lacking in the Democratic brain stem.

I'd love to be proven wrong, but I'm not going to withhold breathing waiting.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Media Tidbit-CNBC Hearts Fox

Joe Kiernan, on Squawk Box had this little filler thing, the 3 "reporters" sitting around, talk show like, showing off the woman's legs, and Kiernan went off on the Dem's cancelling the Nevada Debate on Fox "News", although he tried to make it sound like it hadn't been cancelled. He defended Fox, questioning those nasty bloggers like Markos, those dirty hippies like MoveOn, wanting to know why the Dems want to associate with those off the chart wacko's instead of the mainstream massive majority of Democrats who should treat Fox as a fully legimate news organization. And of course they pooh poohed Ailes Obama / The Murderous Terrorist Bush Has Failed To Find slur, rightly viewed as an excuse for the pullout, but also NOT acknowledged as very indicitive of the nature of Faux "News."

Unbelievable, the hackery. He posited what next, the GOP boycott CNN???

Stop it Joe, yer killin me!!!! [sniff, wipes tear from eye]

There was no reason for this segment they had, it was just killing some time at the end of the hour, yet it accomplished many things for the corporate press. Legitimizes Faux, deligitimizes MoveOn and Kos, and confuses the border between the pure "news" divisions of the various networks, and their corporate activites like branding and ratings for their shows, etc. Faux running a political debate is not "news," it's a business function, and that's fine, there's nothing wrong with it, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with Democrats responding to the people they represent and deciding that it would be inappropriate to support that business function of a lying, smearing, pandering, bootlicking outfit like Faux News.

But CNBC "reporters" apparently got their marching orders from GE HQ, and decided that shilling for Faux was more important than journalistic integrity. Faux, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, all legitimate "News" operations, and don't you dare think otherwise, oh, and don't listen to that huge number of dirty filthy hippies who believe in democracy and a free press and actual news reporting like the sort that Dana Priest has demonstrated with her Walter Reed stories.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Bi-Broder-Sans Grey Mystery Meat

Read Broder's Thursday column at work, just had a good laugh. What astounds me is how Mr Dean of the Fairies, er Pundocracy, Pundidiotocracy, Punditirodacy, DC Hand Jobbers, is how he forgets some minor factual matters in his desparate embrace of civility over substance, comity over progress, or congeniality over accomplishment.

For instance, and doesn't Tom Daschle make a fine example? Sen. Gopper Leader Frist campaigns against his opposite number, Sen. Daschle, breaking a 50 year tradition, straining the bonds of comity in the process. Sen. Daschle, of course, having been accused of all manor of heinous crimes, from treason to not being sufficiently supplicantable in his relations to George W Bush while, horrors, a war was happening, was so fierce and violent in his attacks against Bush that he had to be defeated you know.

"I don't think the success has been overstated. But the continued success I think is still somewhat in doubt. Whether we continue to succeed depends on whether we get the right answers to the questions Senator Byrd was posing yesterday. ... I will say that at this point, given the information we've been provided, I don't think it would do anybody any good to second-guess what has been done to date. I think it has been successful. I've said that on many, many occasions. But I think the jury's still out about future success, as I've said."

He also suggested Thursday that it was necessary for the United States to find Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders for the war on terrorism to be considered a success.

And in response Sen. Daschle got this:
Trent Lott, however, fired back almost immediately by attacking Daschle's right to criticize the Bush administration's prosecution of the war. "How dare Senator Daschle criticize President Bush while we are fighting our war on terrorism, especially when we have troops in the field," Lott stated. "He should not be trying to divide our country while we are united." Bill Frist, called Daschle's remarks "thoughtless and ill-timed." Meanwhile, Rep. Thomas Davis, claimed Daschle's "divisive comments have the effect of giving aid and comfort to our enemies by allowing them to exploit divisions in our country."

[...] Andrew Sullivan suggested that Daschle's comments marked the start of a campaign "to undermine the war in order to gain some political traction against the president."

Mr. Broder forgets stuff like that, forgets the ugly smears that republicans have been throwing out at Democrats for years, forgets the contempt that Republicans have demonstrated for Democrats in every way, remember Sensenbrenners fit at the basement hearings the Dems were having, just relagating them to basement hearings, Bill Thomas calling the cops on the Democrats, oh the list is a long one, why just yesterday some House gopper of some name, can't remember which one nor does it matter, kept making the snotty little Democrat Party comment, minor to be sure, but a petty insult that demonstrates the GOP's sense of comity nonetheless, yes, David Broder forgets that at the heart of this divide is nobody but Republicans.

Tom Daschle asks a wishy washy question, and you'd think he'd raped Mary Cheney for christssake. And David Broder thinks these eminent gris leaders are going to save the country from partisanship?? Broder wants gruel sans the grey lump of mystery meat or salt and thinks that is going to make this a better place for all.

As Ezra Klein notes though, tellingly so,

You can't bipartisan the health care crisis. You can't bipartisan Iraq. You can't bipartisan energy. There are solutions to these issues, and you have to be courageous enough and concerned enough to actually make the hard choices and advocate for the right ones. [That's why we have political parties, they think their own solutions are the right ones-DGR] And maybe, if you're forceful enough, and savvy enough, you can get members of both parties to agree that your solution is the right one. But you don't start with bipartisanship, you end with it.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

More Good Economic News


CNBC this morning reported on retail sales for Feb. this morning, Sacks, Nordstroms, the high end retailers in general, had a pretty good month, but not so much for the rest of the pack, in general. As I noted earlier, labor costs, i.e. wages and benefits, were up last quarter, in large part to big bonuses paid to high-income workers.

So you see, the economy is doing great! It's like the ad I heard on KLSD Air America one morning, some financial planner who wants to give back to his community for all of his business successes as a way to say thanks, and to help people out.

How nice, I thought, how progressive even. Then I heard the pitch. It was for a seminar to help the successful wealthy investors make the most out of their high end investments! Way to give back to the community, dude. [Shakes head in wonder and amazement]

In a related area, I also heard the spokesman for the American Bankers Association talking about credit cards, I guess Congress held some hearings on credit card debt yesterday, and he said that a lot of the problem is an educational one, that people need to be better educated about credit and how it works.

True enough I said, but, when you watch the way the credit card companies sell their product, and isn't that what advertising is all about, educating the consumers about your product? But, alas, when you watch the ads, they're selling vacations and golf outings and impressing the boss and buy buy buying more crap for your house. I'm pretty sure that educating the consumer about responsible credit, the impact of just making the minimum payment on your credit card accounts, and a whole plethora of things related to credit and credit cards, is AWOL from their campaigns.

But their spokesmodel said the problem is the consumer being un-educated. No mention of their culpability in it, no sirree bob, it's you, you dear readers, at fault.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Graham and Faux Outrage Covers for Bush War


I just finished watching the News Hour interview with Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA, and a truly reprehensible Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, about the VA/Military Hospitals care. Twice in the space of the interview Graham went out of his way to throw blame on Sgt's and maintenence workers and lower ranking officers for the mess at Walter Reed, and, incredibly enough, at Abu Ghraib.

And $250,000 was spent in 2005 to renovate the building. My question is, as a military lawyer for 20-something years, who was the first sergeant in charge of Building 18? Who was the company commander whose job it is to inspect facilities?

And we want to hold commanders at the highest level accountable, but there is also a chain of command down below. Some rooms in Building 218 got to be deplorable because it was just not structurally sound. Somebody in the Army is responsible for maintaining that building. I want to know who they were and why they didn't do a better job. [...]

What was Abu Ghraib about? It was about not enough people to run the jail who were poorly trained.

Nice. I'm surprised he didn't try to toss Bill Clinton that bus too.

Sen. Murray did a pretty good job making the case that the problem stems in large part from the failure of the administration to properly plan for Cheney's War of Occupation, and she also noted a couple of times that the Bush Administration is impeding the Congress in trying to correct the problems.

And I think that, you know, here in the Senate, we're not going to sit by idly and wait for more commissions. We are going to get to work and try to deal with this, but that takes honesty from this administration.

An honesty lacking by this administration and apologists like Lindsey Graham. They won't tell Congress how many traumatic brain injuries there are, as Murray clearly puts it, frankly, what we've seen from the V.A. is the same thing we've seen from the Pentagon, at this point, is that we haven't been given honest numbers and assessments of what this war is costing so that we can provide the resources that are needed.

And that's the crux of this matter, it's the filter you need to look through with every outrage surrounding this stinking "war."

We cannot know the true costs of this war, the real costs, the costs that affect and impact our actual lives, not the fantasy lives of the media narrative, of our national psyche, of our detached and disconnected world, no, we cannot know what this war is actually costing us, because if we do ever figure it out, the support for this "war" and the criminal corporate nationalistic enterprise it is feeding, will fall through the floor, and there will be some repurcussions unlike any this nation has ever seen. Mark my words, for there is no justification for this war. It was wrong the instant it was moved out of the bowels of PNAC, it was wrong in every way when it was pushed by Cheney's special plans group, by Rummy and Scooter and Powell and Graham and Lieberman and every other enabler and nationalist and oilogopolist. And maybe, just maybe, if we keep pushing this story of the failed care of our troops, if we keep pushing our weak-kneed Congressmen to act, maybe, just maybe, the scales will fall from our eyes, and we shall see; and seeing, we shall know the truth; and knowing the truth, we will be set free from our bonds of greed and fear.

And there will be celebrations across the land.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

More Good News-Labor Costs Rise!

And productivity increased as well! Hooray! Bravo, good job, workers! You worked hard for all that money!

What? What's that you say?

Not so fast, lowly laborers, is that what you're telling me?


It was the biggest quarterly increase in labor costs since a 9.1 percent surge in the first three months of 2006. Both gains [labor costs-DGR] were attributed in large part to big bonuses paid to high-income workers.


Well, never mind, I need to go work now.

US Attorney's Firing Linked to Bill Clinton

Yes, I heard it on C-SPAN so it must be true. Granted, it was a caller on the Republican line, so there's a chance that some mis-information may be involved. But at any rate, we have one of the talking points that justifies yet again the Bush adminstration putting their power grab over the priorities of the Country.

You see, Clinton fired all 93, count 'em, 93, US Attorney's when he came into office. Sure, after twelve years of Reagan and Bush, that seems reasonable, and given that new administrations always ask for the resignations of ALL political appointees, that seems like standard procedure, but not to the faithful, oh no.

The writer from the Legal Times, Jason McClure, who was taking questions with Rob did not really respond to that call, or a later one that pointed out the routine nature of Clinton's firings, didn't mention that in respect to mid-term firings, 3 since 1980 or so, these were unprecedented, in fact he sorta went out of his way to defend Bush pointing out that he kept some US Attorney's without acknowledging that, yes, incoming Presidents ask for the resignations of all political appointees, whether they accept them or not or that after 12 years under one party there aren't going to be much that a supposed outsider is going to want to keep.

No, it's just all Bill Clinton's fault, don't you know anything? He had an unauthorized blow job in the White House! Better he got it across the street in the park I suppose.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Support of Our Troops, Republican Style

While looking for a transcript of the hearings at Walter Reed, I went to the Oversight Committee website, where I found this report from the Committee on Government Reform — Minority Staff Special Investigations Division. My bolds.

The Department ... has had long-standing problems providing care for eligible veterans. In 1996, Congress passed the Veterans Health care Reform Act, which expanded eligibility for VA care to all veterans. Since the legislation was passed, enrollment in VA health care facilities has increased by almost 300%, from 2.9 M in '96 to an estimated 7.5 M in '03. Funding for the VA, however, increased at a much lower rate during this period, leading to shortages of capacity and long waiting times for many veterans.

That Republican congress had to pass Clinton's bill, but they didn't have to pay for it all that much. In the same way, Bush, demonstrating his support for those heroes he loves to pose before, would impose fees and cost increases on Priority 7 Veterans that effectively forces tens of thousands of them out of the system, and deny enrollments for a whole large group of new Vets, so called Priority 8 Veterans.

Priority 7 veterans are veterans whose injuries are not service-related and whose income is more than $24,644 ($29,576 for a veteran with a dependent) but less than 80% of the community’s median income. Priority 8 veterans are veterans whose injuries are not service related and whose incomes are higher than Priority 7 veterans. Together, these two classes of veterans represent 41% of the veterans currently receiving VA health care.

So to honor our Veterans, the great Cult of the Military Forces, that would be the GOP, would deny access to any VA care for a whole class of Veterans, while raising a never before done TAX!!! on another group of Vets, effectively forcing thousands of Veterans out of the VA system.

We're supposed to honor our troops by supporting them, by taking care of them, even after they're done with their service. They made great sacrifices, of time and body, and we should pay for their healthcare as part of our bargain for their service. Bill Clinton got that done, only the Republicans seem to have undone it, just as they have attempted to undo everything else Bill Clinton accomplished in office, see North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Roadless Rules, Clean Air, Fair taxation, you name it, to the extent I'm surprised they haven't tried to restart the The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Support the troops indeed.

Congressional Questions-Democratic Version

Okay, to be honest, other than wanting to know why they're such greedy and feckless Bush lickers, there will be no Republican version, their answers lack the merest shred of credibility. But I want to know, having heard some blather from Chuck Schumer this morning, a few things. First, the gist of the offending comment:

In a letter Sunday to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., asked for an independent commission, possibly headed by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, to investigate all post-combat medical facilities and recommend changes.

Why do you need an independent investigation?
Aren't your values good enough?
Aren't you capable enough?
Do you lack the integrity necessary to conduct an investigation, as demonstrated by continually running for bi-partisan cover instead of standing on your own?
Are you afraid of what the "Press" is going to say about you?
Afraid they might question your patriotism?
Afraid they might label your actions as "political and partisan" even though the American People want to know the answers and do not support this war or the Bush administration and don't believe them and their lies any longer?
Do you enjoy the taste of Colin Powell's spew that much, the same spew he gave you with his pre-war WMD testimony, that you would invite him to head your investigation, not just be apart of it, but HEAD it?

These are just a few of the question I have for the Democratic LEADERSHIP, and they're all pretty much centered on the central question that keeps swirling around my head, around the blogosphere, around the water coolers and kitchen tables and talk radio's and anywhere else people congregate, namely,


Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Beneficiaries of "Incompetence"

Some musings on the US Attorney's Purge, prompted by a number of TPM posts, here, here, and especially here.

So who hired these US Attorney's in the first place?

Wouldn't it have been the, yes, wait, Bush Administration?

I concur wholeheartedly with the "incompetence" dodge reader BG wrote about, they're only incompetent if you think that what they have been doing is trying to run a democratic government for the betterment of the American People in its entirety.

Given that such a consideration is far down the list of their policies and beliefs, the incompetence dodge disappears under the weight of so much greed and delusional ideology. Granted, some of them are incompetent, some too are pretty much certifiable, some, like the attorney general, are about as close to being a complete sociopath as I've ever seen, but for the most part, the problem is that they are profoundly immature in their belief systems, that they are so suffused with fear and shame that they project their inadequacies onto a grand scale, not unlike a group of people who plunged the world into the most hideous maelstrom of death and destruction and insanity ever.

So back to my question, when their tools misbehaved, either by action or inaction, they moved to replace them with more willing tools, or less willing tools you could say, depending on the particulars. What this demonstrates is not incompetence, but an inability to appreciate that some people do behave in ways that uphold their duty to their oath's of office, that their Mayberry Machiavelism renders them incapable of understanding honor and dignity and responsibility. That doesn't make them incompetent or corrupt, it makes them, essentially, evil.

And it's far past time for the Democrats to embrace that concept, and act accordingly. And soon.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Watch the News Hour

Friday's News Hour had some good reporting and discussions, even from Bobo, believe it or not.

And they even had a representative from the online world, Mark Benjamin from Bloggers have been talking about this story from day one, that's why Atrios was always wondering why Bush would never visit the troops there, DKos has had weekly discussions of the treatment of soldiers and veterans, people like Seven of Six have talked about their "adventures" with the VA, but until the WaPo went front page, nobody did didly. This exchange between Lehrer, a former Marine, and Bobo, not a former Marine, tells quite a lot:

DAVID BROOKS: And to me -- and I really wasn't aware of how much had been reported in Salon. I wasn't aware until Dana Priest just said it, that there had been a hearing.

JIM LEHRER: In 2005, and nobody paid any attention, including us.

As Judy Woodruff noted, now that we have a divided government again, these sorts of stories will come out. But the question is why they haven't before this? Why did/does the Bush Administration suppress so much about this war, beyond the fact that half of what they do is illegal, the other half incompetent?

They actually kindof discussed it in the Walter Reed story and in the Shields and Brooks discussion, but I'll summarize.

They don't want the people of this country to know the consequences of the Administration's War of Occupation. They don't want us to sacrifice, because if we become a part of this nightmare we will begin to seriously question why; those 30 percent dead enders that back Bush without question will start to wonder when things begin to impact their own Cheetos stained lives, those 10 percent supporters will not just leave Bush, but go after Bush and Cheney, and start to look for changes and solutions, will start demanding that the troops come home now, and it won't be unequivocable either. And Bush/Cheney can't afford that.

Because then stories like the two that followed Shields and Brooks will get addressed too, and then their whole criminal enterprise will come crashing down around their preciousssssssss corporate masters. Here's a link to the video of the Port Pollution story. Check it out too, it's quite interesting, and once again California is actually trying to fill the void left by Bush's Administration.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Bush Rebuked in NOLA

Scout Prime sent me an e-mail about this, better late than never, here's the link and here's another link to what people in NOLA have to do with their time if they want to get help.

All I can add to this is that Bush showing up in New Orleans only reminds people of how badly Bush and Brownie and Bush's FEMA (not Bill Clinton's FEMA, George W Effing Bush's FEMA) failed their responsibilities. It's like everytime he makes a speech on Iraq his poll numbers go down.

And Rove is a genius, right?

C'mon Democrats, take these people on!!!!!!!

Two Recoveries

This article from Bob Woodruff talks about the struggles of our wounded veterans returning from Iraq:

Navigating the military and veterans health-care system can be daunting and sometimes downright maddening for the families of wounded veterans.

"It's almost like a scavenger hunt," said Sarah Wade, whose husband, Sgt. Ted Wade, lost an arm and suffered a traumatic brain injury when his Humvee was hit by an improvised explosive device, IED, nearly three years ago.

"I'm still trying to recover what I've lost, and I'm still trying to reorganize myself," Ted said.

Sarah dropped out of college and quit her job so she could advocate full time for her husband's care.

"It's taken a toll on me physically. It's been really, really hard," she said.

Recall the comments of Rep. Young, R-FL-10: we were made to feel very uncomfortable," said Young, about asking questions of the staff. Then he ran away. Gee, you useless coward, that must have been really hard work.

But has anybody noticed that Bob Woodruff is recovered enough to go back to work, while the people in the military having suffered the same sort of injuries, are scavenging aid and benefits through the VA healthcare system, and still trying to recover?

Why can't the people that we paid to put in this place without their choice, compared to Woodruff who wanted to be there, why can't we get those people standing and falling in our stead taken proper care of, made whole again?