Monday, February 27, 2006

Texas GOP Dinosaur Rebuffed in IRS Intimidation Plot

Crusty old Sam "Crypt-Keeper" Johnson -- who some believe to be over 120 years old -- was rejected in his bid to force the IRS to intimidate Texans for Public Justice to stop getting involved in matters involving one Tom DeLay.

One favorite tactic of the GOP was to bitch and moan about Clinton's alleged abuse of the IRS by turning them on political enemies. Maybe Johnson forgot about that, I mean... he's so very very old. And besides, the way the Repugs are getting caught with their collective hands in the cookie jar (again and again), they were all probably guilty anyway.

From the Post:

Johnson, a member of the subcommittee responsible for oversight of the tax agency, sparked the IRS's interest by telling IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson in a letter dated Aug. 3, 2004, that he had "uncovered some disturbing information" and received complaints of possible tax violations.

Johnson said he was sure the IRS would follow up. "I ask you to report back your findings of each of these investigations directly to me," he told Everson in the letter, according to a copy obtained by The Washington Post.

The IRS sent two auditors last year to comb the 2003 books of Texans for Public Justice and an affiliated foundation that collected donations for the organization. No tax violations were found, according to a letter the IRS sent the group.

But the circumstances behind the effort -- which were uncovered by the group's director and founder, Craig L. McDonald, using the Freedom of Information Act -- prompted him to allege that the audit was an abuse of the IRS's mandate.

For anyone interested, TPJ is a phenominal organization and has just as much to do with Tom DeLay's downfall as Tom Delay himself. Donate to them generously if you can.

Another NYT groundbreaking discovery...

In one of the more head-slappingly obvious headlines today, the NYT's Katharine Seelye has discovered that journalists and White House press flacks are beginning to "mistrust" each other -- particularly after the invent of live WH briefings.

Well... good. There's been too much "trust" between those two since 2000. Look where that's gotten us. The lack of "mistrust" allowed a gay prostitute/pornographer operating under a pseudonym to lob softballs in their midst for 2 years without bothering to ask about his publication of qualifications.

We at P.A. say to Seelye and the NYT editors, "better late than never."

Army Grabs Its Ankles for Halliburton

Despite its own investigation showing hundreds of millions of waste, fraud and abuse in Halliburton's no-bid no-oversight contract in Iraq, the Army will fork over more than $250 million in "disputed costs" to Big Time's former company (from which he is still drawing an annual deferrment check) even though those servies were never delivered.

Favorite line from the Army explaining their continued whoring for Halliburton:

Under the type of contract awarded to the company, "the contractor is not required to perform perfectly to be entitled to reimbursement," said Rhonda James, a spokeswoman for the southwestern division of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, based in Dallas, where the contract is administered.

Finally, doesn't anyone think it's strange that the Army Corp of Engineers office where the dubious no-bid contract originated is in Dallas?

Thirsty?

The EPA, that's the Environmental PROTECTION Agency, has dropped its objection to a plan by DuPont to dump 4 million gallons of "chemical weapon wastewater" (VX toxin) into the Delaware River.

Yum!

*Predictably, no attention is paid to the fact that this water comes from the continuing production of chemical weapons in the United States.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

"Honor Bound to Defend Freedom"

Meanwhile on the torture front, it's good to see that "force feeding" is now "acknowledged" by our "Honor Bounded and Defenders of Freedom" military brass down in Guantanamo.


From the NYTimes:
The military commander responsible for the American detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, confirmed Tuesday that officials there last month turned to more aggressive methods to deter prisoners who were carrying out long-term hunger strikes to protest their incarceration.
Never fear though, all is well according to the head of United States Southern command, Gen. Bantz J. Craddock, commander at Gitmo, and the ever so "humane" senior officials at the DoD concluded this practice was "not inhumane".
Read here as to how the whole "not inhumane" process is.
From NYTimes:
According to newly declassified interview notes, several detainees who had been on hunger strikes told their lawyers during visits late last month that the military had begun using harsher methods more widely in the second week of January. One Yemeni detainee, Emad Hassan, described the chair to lawyers in interviews on Jan. 24 and 25.

"The head is immobilized by a strap so it can't be moved, their hands are cuffed to the chair and the legs are shackled," the notes quote Mr. Hassan as saying. "They ask, 'Are you going to eat or not?' and if not, they insert the tube. People have been urinating and defecating on themselves in these feedings and vomiting and bleeding. They ask to be allowed to go to the bathroom.
Well sounds like a good enough explanation to me. As for the diapers, well sounds like they are a luxury item. Maybe the restraint chair is ergonomically correct?
Oh wait, these "freedom hating" prisoners aren't your normal "terrorist". They comprise of such "evil doers" like
From Mother Jones:
Detainees who've been released from Guantanamo -- including farmers, kidnapped taxi drivers, a man in his 90s, and a deaf man who couldn't understand his interrogators -- have consistently told reporters that they are innocent and that they were handed over by local Afghan commanders keen to appease the Americans or to settle personal scores.
BUT, like any good acknowledgement of torture article you can't end it without a blatant dismissal of the so called "force feeding".
From NYTimes:
Military spokesmen have generally discounted the complaints, saying the prisoners are for the most part terrorists, trained by Al Qaeda to use false stories as propaganda.
Along with the dismissal, but also the "cherry atop of my sundae" the usage of my favorite "P" word...PROPAGANDA.
Who better than our own military to be able recognize what is and is not propaganda? We of all military should know when it is being used since we have a recent and glorious history of its usage.
I can't wait for the UAE to take over our ports now!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Random Texas news

Kelso does a typical Kelso-take on the hooker the Dems in Dallas nominated:

Former male prostitute has a leg up on the other candidates

Malin can joke about this. He points out that his campaign color is burnt orange. He says he's had phone calls from people asking, " 'Are you changing your campaign slogan to Hook 'em, Tom?' and no, we're not."

Instead of pooh-poohing his past as a male hooker, he should mention it prominently in a TV ad campaign.

How's this for a slogan: Tom Malin: He's Done It Before, and He Can Do It Again.

At the Capitol, Malin would be doing the same work he used to do. It's just that he'd be doing it to a larger audience, and in a suit.

Really. How many other candidates can say they've prostituted themselves, so therefore they understand how the Legislature really operates?


Embezzler's thefts from Doggett, others escalated over years
Victims, friends can't understand why Kristi Willis stole from them.
By Chuck LindellAMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFFTuesday, February 21, 2006

Like most embezzlers, Kristi Willis started small and grew increasingly bold.

She first dipped into U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett's campaign treasury in January 1999, the same month she volunteered to start keeping the books.

[...]

For many, Willis' choice of victims was as puzzling as the thefts themselves.

A committed Democrat, Willis drained money from Brown while he was seeking to claim a Republican-held seat in the Texas House. Taking the $8,500 also kept the Capital Area Democratic Women from making campaign contributions in next month's primary or last week's House District 48 runoff, won by Democrat Donna Howard.

[...]

"I think Austin is a pretty forgiving and caring place, and she really has been a great contributor to this community," Edward said. "There is a sense that there was something that was really wrong, a real psychological problem."


The sympathy for Kristi Willis is really amazing, I mean, she stole a lot of fucking money. Actually it's not amazing. She's white and upper-middle class. The same people quoted in this story who feel bad for her selling her house and hoping she gets treatment for her problem rather than jail time probably flip through COPS on Saturday night and feel no such sympathy for the crack whore who has a real "problem" getting busted by the cops and facing hard time.

If she'd broken into a bunch of West Austin homes and stolen $167K worth of loot, there'd be no one not calling for her to be locked up.

Maybe she does have a problem. Maybe restitution and counseling and community justice is a better way for society to deal with theft than jail time. But until white liberals in Austin start hollering for a full-scale revolution in criminal justice and the way Texas treats drug criminals, prostitutes, and non-violent thieves, I don't want to hear shit about Kristi.

Finally, Bob Gammage smacks Chris Bell for not being a good Dem. Seems some pretty serious charges.

Did Bell really vote wrong on ANWR, bankruptcy and taxes? Anyone want to defend those votes?

From the Gammage campaign:

Chris Bell is running in the Democratic Primary for Governor, but he cannot seem to figure out what he really is. Chris Bell flips-flops back and forth:

[...]

BELL VOTED TO ALLOW DRILLING IN THE ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE. League of Conservation Voters, National Environmental Scoreboard, 2003, p.28 and following. Congressional Record, 4/11/2003, Roll Call 145

BELL ENDORSED THE BUSH TAX CUTS THAT GAVE HUGE TAX BREAKS TO THE WEALTHIEST 1% OF AMERICANS—AND CAUSED THE BIGGEST BUDGET DEFICIT IN OUR HISTORY. Houston Chronicle 9/13/2002

BELL VOTED FOR THE BUSH-CHENEY ENERGY PLAN…The Sierra Club called it “one of the worst disasters for the environment and public health in recent years.”
League of Conservation Voters Scorecard, 2003, p 28 and following


BELL VOTED AGAINST FELLOW DEMOCRATS AND JOINED REPUBLICANS
TO PASS AN INFAMOUS “BANKRUPTCY BILL” WRITTEN BY BANKS AND CREDIT CARD COMPANIES.
Congressional Record, March 19, 2003; Roll Call Votes 72 and 74


BELL VOTED TO WEAKEN CLEAN WATER LAWS…by granting special exemptions to oil and gas companies.

League of Conservation Voters Scorecard, 2003, p 28 and following


Bell campaigned against a city initiative to raise the minimum wage in Houston.
Houston Chronicle 2/14/97; 2/16/97

MD pols almost as wacky as TX

Schaefer's Antics: Maybe He Should Charge Admission

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Sunday, February 19, 2006; Page D03

William Donald Schaefer -- bully or ham?

That was the question last week after the Maryland comptroller leered at a young state aide in front of a crowded room, asking her to "walk again" so he could gaze at her backside. It was typical of the former governor and Baltimore mayor's three-decade track record of egomaniacal spectacle -- dressing like Elvis at state banquets, throwing kicking-and-fist-pounding tantrums on the floor of City Hall, dropping trousers in front of lawmakers.

· July 1981: To make up for his failure to open the new Baltimore aquarium on time, the mayor jumps into the seal pool in an old-fashioned bathing suit, and splashes about with a "mermaid" model.

[...]

· March 1991: Angered by critical letters to the editor, Schaefer has state troopers drive him unannounced to the writer's home and harangues him for an hour.

[...]

· March 1993: At a news conference calling for a ban on some firearms, Schaefer points a 9mm pistol (unloaded, it turned out) at an AP reporter. "Some of you have never had it in your face. . . . I don't know what would happen to your pants, but I can imagine."

· August 2001: Midway through his first term as state comptroller, Schaefer calls his gubernatorial successor, Parris Glendening, a "chicken" at a public hearing, makes "cluck-cluck-cluck" noises, flaps his arms.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Video Evidence of Crazy Pat Roberts

Crooks and Liars has documentary evidence of The Batty One shaking his memory pills around for the world to see.

I confused read the earlier "I pooped my pants" post below.

The Bad Old Days

Military "planners" lose control of Iraq. Long for days of Latin American military death squads terrifying the populace into submission -- asks for "Salvador Option" in Iraq.

Ask and you shall receive:

U.S. and Iraqi authorities discovered an apparent death squad operating within the country's Interior Ministry last month. . . The incident is the first hard evidence to support the widely held suspicion among Sunni Arabs that vigilantes in the country's Shiite-dominated police force are rounding up Sunnis and killing them. The bodies of Sunni men -- bound, shot in the head and left in dumpsters, on side streets and in patches of desert -- have turned up frequently since the middle of last year, shortly after the Shiite-led government was named in April.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"Big Time" Pussy

Good thing those FIVE deferments kept him out of Vietnam, sounds like he would have folded in the face of real danger like BDA at poker night. From Big Time's "interview" with the court scribes at Faux News:


`The image of him falling is something I'll never ever be able to get out of my mind,'' Cheney said. ``I fired, and there's Harry falling. It was, I'd have to say, one of the worst days of my life at that moment.''

Imagine how our troops in Iraq feel every day. Oh, and please note the portion of the interview where The Bloated One admits to drinking beer before the incident. He truly is the pinacle of gun safety (no permit, drinking before hunting, blindly shooting in all directions, fainting after said incident).

Bush Can Kill You Legally

From Newsweek (please note the lack of any delineation between American citizens and "terrorist suspects"):

In the latest twist in the debate over presidential powers, a Justice Department official suggested that in certain circumstances, the president might have the power to order the killing of terrorist suspects inside the United States. Steven Bradbury, acting head of the department's Office of Legal Counsel, went to a closed-door Senate intelligence committee meeting last week to defend President George W. Bush's surveillance program. During the briefing, said administration and Capitol Hill officials (who declined to be identified because the session was private), California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Bradbury questions about the extent of presidential powers to fight Al Qaeda; could Bush, for instance, order the killing of a Qaeda suspect known to be on U.S. soil? Bradbury replied that he believed Bush could indeed do this, at least in certain circumstances.

Then comes this doozy:

Tasia Scolinos, a Justice Department spokeswoman, told NEWSWEEK: "Mr. Bradbury's meeting was an informal, off-the-record briefing about the legal analysis behind the president's terrorist-surveillance program. He was not presenting the legal views of the Justice Department on hypothetical scenarios outside of the terrorist-surveillance program."

Astute readers will remember the word "hypothetical" played a big role in the recent testimony of Al Gonzales to the Judiciary Committee. During his confirmation he was asked about domestic spying and said he couldn't respond to "hypothetical situations."

Turns out, it was already going on when he made those comments!!

So be wary when you hear DoJ spokespeople use the word "hypothetical" when referring to the government's supposed authority to assassinate people on U.S. soil.

We love you Donna Howard!

Howard wins House race
Democrats pick up a seat in GOP-controlled House.
By Jason Embry

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Democrat Donna Howard defeated Republican Ben Bentzin handily Tuesday to win the District 48 seat in the Texas House for the rest of the year.

Howard picked up 58 percent of the vote to Bentzin's 42 percent, according to unofficial returns.


Today is a glorious day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Scalia calls Bush an idiot

Giving a speech to the Illuminati (otherwise known as the Federalist Society), Scalia outlines his judicial philosophy that will hopefully lead him to vote against the consolodation of power in the Executive Branch simply because, "a new threat needs new tools to fight it with" as the Bushites are so fond of saying.

I guess Scalia is pretty much saying Bush can't have any more extrajudicial powers, right???

"That's the argument of flexibility and it goes something like this: The Constitution is over 200 years old and societies change. It has to change with society, like a living organism, or it will become brittle and break. . . But you would have to be an idiot to believe that," Scalia said."

Almost more interesting is his use of the third-person to refer to himself in the same speech:

"Scalia does have a philosophy, it's called originalism," he said. "That's what prevents him from doing the things he would like to do," he told more than 100 politicians and lawyers from this U.S. island territory.

I hope he invokes this steadfast philosophy in response to Constitution-bending speeches like the following from G-Dub:

"And so the decision I made right off the bat is we will find them, and we will hunt them down, and we will bring them to justice before they hurt America again. (Applause.) . . . But that requires a different kind of response than the old days of nations fighting nations. . . This is a different kind of struggle . . . In other words, in the old days we could see a threat and say, well, maybe it will cause harm, maybe it won't. Those days changed, as far as I'm concerned. . . My attitude was, if it's good enough -- these tools are good enough to find a drug dealer, then they ought to be good enough to protect us from the new threats of the 21st century. . . I told you it's a different kind of war with a different kind of enemy. If they're making phone calls into the United States, we need to know why -- to protect you. (Applause.)"

Big Time: Straight-Shootin'

From the Washington Post in August of 2000:

But then a reporter asked if Bush's recent statements that his running mate, Richard B. Cheney, knows what the meaning of 'is' is was not, in fact, a reference to Clinton. Bush replied "Yeah, I'm talking about him then. I sure was. The context of that is somebody who is going to shoot straight with the American people and Dick Cheney is a straight shooter. . . "

Monday, February 13, 2006

"I'm confused... I pooped my pants."

Anyone lucky enough to see the increasingly senile Sen. Pat Roberts absolutely DERAIL on Meet the Press Sunday morning will remember this exchange (if you can figure out just what the hell he's saying after his memory pill line, please comment to this post):

MR. RUSSERT: Then why not go to Congress and say that, and request a change in the statute that would allow this activity specifically? What’s the reluctance to go to Congress?

SEN. ROBERTS: I think that they do—I don’t know, this—I have some memory pills, I think everybody here ought to take a memory pill every morning on the recollection of, you know, what really went on, because that’s not my recollection. My recollection was that we just sat there with the people who did the briefing, I’m not going to say who, and they said, “Do we need to change this law?” And we started to really figure out what jurisdiction, how we could change it, how we could streamline FISA, because it is outdated because of the time constraints and because of the stack of materials that they have at FISA. And don’t tell me that isn’t there, because I’ve just been there. OK?


Keep in mind the MTP was being very generous in this transcript. Roberts sat there for a full 5 seconds slack-jawed and without comment until he procured this odd bottle of pills from underneath the table and began shaking them around like some kind of baby rattle and encouraged all three of the panelists (not including himself) to take memory pills because they all have a different recollection of the briefings than did he.

But, to be fair, the memory pill gimmick was old hat. He pulled the same thing last month when referring to ranking member Rockefeller's objections to the NSA domestic spying program:

“We’ve contacted the pharmaceutical companies -- they have memory pills for seniors and we’re trying to get a memory pill for those who attended the briefings because they’re having some amnesia and sort of a selective memory loss,” Sen. Pat Roberts (R.-Kan.) told HUMAN EVENTS.

As for memory pills, perhaps Roberts could "fly on his own supply" because here he just flat-out lies about the FISA process (neglecting to mention that the White House can open a wiretap or search IMMEDIATELY and then notify the FISA court within 72 hours RETROACTIVELY of the action). Meaning that all this bullshit about FISA backlogs and procedural delays is nothing but a pure lie from the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on national television.

Observe:

Sen. Roberts: . . . You’ve got to understand that these FISA cases are this thick and on emergency cases they are stacked up and on nonemergency cases even higher, and the time delay, we need action by minutes and hours to stop a terrorist attack. We’re talking about days—days delay. So, consequently, you could do an amendment to FISA to say this particular program does fit under FISA, but it would be a streamlined FISA.. . . Tim. If you’ve got five days, eight days on one of the threats that we were briefed on, you’ve got to act within minutes and hours. If you have 10 dots here and you have 100 dots to get the full picture and you’re waiting days and you may be missing these communications, it may be too late.

"A True Gentleman"

Why would anyone go hunting with this angry old man? Like the bombings of the Al Jazeera news bureaus in Kabul , Baghdad, and the Palestine Hotel this shooting was also reported as an "accident".

Of course this blunder on behalf of the V.P. is an "accident". What more could it be with the administration that is well known for claiming its "personal responsibilty" in all of its screw ups?

Cheney and another man located another covey farther away and were flushing it out when Whittington came to join them without "announcing himself," she said.

Cheney was unaware Whittington had walked up behind him when he swung around to fire his .28-gauge shotgun at one of the birds rising from the grass. He was focused on the bird and did not see Whittington, who was wearing a hunter's "blaze orange" vest, she said.
"You're always supposed to let other hunters know where you are," she said.

Especially when it pertains to one's life being jeopardized or even snuffed out in many cases.

Yeah, right.

One tends to wonder why this story was "sat on " and not reported sooner or at least the day it happened? Another thing that puzzled me is why Whittington agreed to not "say anything" about the whole event stating that it was "out of respect to the V.P.".

When did this asshole earn anyone's "respect"??? Hell, he did just almost shoot your face off

"...Whittington had been hit by pellets in the face, neck and upper torso."
Besides who still fires at a target even though the sun is in your eyes??? Which was part of the official explaination.
By the end of the story you almost get the feeling that the V.P. should be commended for his actions.
"The vice president had an excellent medical detail and they were over him so fast."

She said she did "not want to characterize" the vice president's reaction, except that it was "wholly appropriate" as he directed his security and medical team to Whittington.

"The Secret Service (agents) were there. He couldn't have gotten better attention," she said.
An ambulance, which the vice president always has on standby .
So I suppose we should just be thankful that this pesky lawyer didn't threaten the V.P. with his distracting hunter's orange vest and his Al Queda/Pat Leahy looking mug. Doesn't he know that this poor old man has a heart condition???
Jeeze!
Fire away Mr. Vice President.

Cheney, Republican "accountability," and a new blog

Kudos to local news for playing it hilariously straight in reporting, simply, "Cheney Shoots Man."

Best headlines I've seen:

Dick Cheney’s “Bird Flew” Problem
From Dan Quayle to Damn Quail!

Cheney steps up war on lawyers
Dick Cheney's Hunting Horror

The BBC was great, reporting, US Vice-President shoots friend
And they published a side by side photo of Whittington and a quail:















Harry Whittington (left). A quail (right)

Hehe, those Brits!


Nice quip, Brady:

"Now I understand why Dick Cheney keeps asking me to go hunting with him," Jim Brady said in a statement. "I had a friend once who accidentally shot pellets into his dog -- and I thought he was an idiot."

"I've thought Cheney was scary for a long time," Sarah Brady said. "Now I know I was right to be nervous."


So, let's bring on the obvious metaphors.

Is this scenario more reminiscent of Bush fragging McCain in S.C.? Or does Whittington represent the Iraqi civilians accidentally shot when the Bush Admin goes off on an unnecessary shooting war? Maybe Whittington was a stand in for Scooter?

Whatever, I just want to see Cheney go down for manslaughter. I want the sentence stacked with the one for violating national security law about disclosure of classified information.

Next topic: Even the Rs know Bush fucked up in NO:

Republicans' Report on Katrina Assails Response

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 — House Republicans plan to issue a blistering report on Wednesday that says the Bush administration delayed the evacuation of thousands of New Orleans residents by failing to act quickly on early reports that the levees had broken during Hurricane Katrina.

A draft of the report, to be issued by an 11-member, all-Republican committee, says the Bush administration was informed on the day Hurricane Katrina hit that the levees had been breached, even though the president and other top administration officials earlier said that they had learned of the breach the next day.

[...]

A White House spokesman said that President Bush was now focused on the future, not the past. A Department of Homeland Security spokesman said that Michael D. Brown, the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was partly to blame for failing to make timely reports to his superiors.


What a telling statement: A White House spokesman said that President Bush was now focused on the future, not the past.

The whole idea of being held responsible for your actions is just non-existent with these people. Imagine if a criminal tried this at the end of trial. "Yes, I know the evidence shows I broke into that house and pawned their TV, but we need to focus 'on the future, not the past.' Let's just forget about it and talk about what we all can do to make sure I don't do that again. Bygones, eh?"

Finally, a friend in Minnesota has a new blog for the DFL party: Check it out.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Savage Q and A

Nice interview with Dan Savage in Onion AV Club.

Choice excerpt:

AVC: You use your column to advocate freedom, but that often seems to scare people. Historically, it seems like there's a real terror that other people might somehow get the freedom to do the things we ourselves don't want to do. Why do you think that is?

DS: Because Canada got the French and Australia got the convicts and we got the fuckin' batshit crazy Christians. And that matters. We're all lied to in high school—"The Pilgrims came here seeking religious freedom." No they didn't. They were the Puritans kicked out of England. They went to Holland, Holland was like "Fuck you people," and they kicked them out too, so they came here. They came here seeking the ability to persecute everybody else—and each other—for their religious beliefs. And we are living with the descendants of those nutjobs, and we have to fight them.

We also have to concede some things to them. There's a big mistake the left has made with talking to religious people, which is attempting to talk them out of their interpretations of the Bible, attempting to have theological debate with them. When I'm on right-wing whackjob radio, when people call up to inform me that I'm going to hell, I concede the point. [Laughs.] "I'm going to hell. Yes. Can you leave me alone now? Isn't that enough? Isn't punishment for all eternity enough? Do you have to screw with me here on Earth, too? Can't you just sit back content that I will roast on a spit in hell right next to Ronald Reagan, adulterer?" And often if you concede their theology and let them have their crackpot religious beliefs, you can make a little progress. The left has made a mistake trying to argue with religious people about their religious beliefs. They have a legitimate beef when it comes to thought police from the left getting up in their business and telling them how they should interpret Leviticus. Well, who gives a fuck how you interpret your fuckin' Grimm fairy tale?

Naughy Harry Reid

What a chump.

This kind of shit is exactly why the Demz get nowhere. Criticize Abramoff? We can't the Senate Minority Leader was in bed with him. Take a stand against shitty asbestos companies.... d'oh, we can't because Leahy authored the goddamn bill and several "conservative Democrats" (see: dinosaurs) are in favor the crap bill.

Criticize the war? They voted for it (then against it, then backed it again, now are questioning it, and now want to invade Iran).

Where the F are OUR ISSUES!!!!!!!! Where is the talk about raising the minimum wage (for the first time since 1994), DC voting rights, electronic voting reform, national health care, lobbying reform, scrapping the AMT, etc....???????

The national party sucks. It's a sad alcoholic that doesn't realize it has bottomed out and is still staggering around pathetically trying to get people to like it before the bar closes.

Oh wait, that's me.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Go f*ck yourself, boss!

News roundup:

Cheney 'Authorized' Libby to Leak Classified Information

(this should lead the evening news)

Ciro raises $70K online from bloggers after Cuellar-Bush photo makes the rounds

(Go Ciro, though Amy Walters has it right when she writes: "I just don’t think Ciro is doing everything to make this as competitive as it could be.")

Hastert, Frist said to rig bill for drug firms

(Somebody's press release worked... nice.)

Same old story

Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968. During that time the following was occurring under an administration and Congress that was entirely Democratic:

* COINTELPRO, the infamous FBI domestic spy program that was unleasehed in dissidents, peace activists, and.... civil rights leaders

* The nation is in an intractable war that has no support domestically

* The nation was subjected to warrantless domestic wiretapping by the White House

* Black churches in the South were being burned

Now, with the death of MLK's wife and a White House and Congress that is entirely Republican, we have the following:

* Dissidents, civil rights proponents, and.... even Vegans are the target of FBI domestic spying

* The nation is in an intractable war that has no support domestically

* The nation is being subjected to warrantless domestic wiretapping by the White House

* Black churches in the South are being burned

A totally new regime is running the country and we're back where we started. If this isn't a pathetic statement on the futility of a two-party system I don't know what is.

The 4 1/2 Year Lie

It's distressing for the mainstream media to consistently forget that THEY were the targets of a series of terrorist attacks during the Great Anthrax Scare of 2001-2002. I say they forget because Bush repeatedly claims that America "hasn't been attacked in 4 1/2 years" and they have yet to correct him in any story (as he does in this recent speech):

"The terrorists are weakened and fractured, yet they're still lethal," the president said in a speech at the National Guard Memorial Building. "We cannot let the fact that America hasn't been attacked in 41/2 years since September the 11th lull us into the illusion that the threats to our nation have disappeared. They have not."

So Bush and the MSM: Please tell the family of US postal worker Joseph Curseen that he was killed by a natural occurance of inhalation anthrax (just like the other 8 people who mysteriously inhaled naturally-occuring weapons-grade anthrax).

Explain to the nation why -- although there was no "terrorism" -- the House and Senate Office Buildings were closed for months and why 28 Senate employees were treated for Anthrax exposure.

Or you could explain why the Health and Human Services Secretary, the FBI, and the MSM all referred to the anthrax attacks as "terrorism" despite the fact that it apparently wasn't.

Oh yeah, remember Ricin? Definitely NOT terror.

I can understand the White House's desire to not refer to those attacks as terrorism. After all, they couldn't find those terrorists either.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Shameless Self-Promotion

Great story out of Papua from some group of rag-tag environmentalists. What a great group they are. Surely no one can question their intentions.

Click here for a cool slideshow from the story above.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Missing From Today's NSA Domestic Spying Debate

I thought we were only spying on international phone calls??

From Newsweek (June 2005):

The bitter debate about John Bolton's nomination to the United Nations may have called unwelcome attention to the spying practices of the National Security Agency. Bolton told Congress last month that he asked the NSA for the names of Americans in raw intel reports. NSA rules prohibit the agency from spying on Americans; if electronic eavesdroppers inadvertently pick up American names, the NSA is supposed to black them out before forwarding reports to other agencies. But analysts and policymakers can make written requests to the NSA for U.S. names, which the State Department says Bolton did 10 times since 2001.

AP Creates News For Idiots

Apparently those of us under 35 are too immature to grapple with the in-depth context and reasoned analysis of today's Mainstream Media fare.

The overpriced marketing consultants to the Associated Press have come up with the solution!

"ASAP" will be the "AP's new multimedia service featuring original content designed to appeal to under-35-year-old readers, a coveted but elusive audience, and to connect with them -- on their terms."

Thank God. My head was hurting reading about plastic traffic cops in Russia.

Big Brother with Anchovies

The ACLU has put together a terrifyingly hilarious video about the future of data mining and how ordering a pizza in 2010 will be the scariest thing you ever do.

Click here for the video (turn your volume up).

First Political Asylum, then BMW

The fascist hit counters at Google have struck again.

But if you're innocent...



(click to enlarge)

Orrin Hatch is a slut for executive power...

In the most shameful display of bootlicking (yet) in the NSA hearings, Orrin Hatch has spent the last 10 minutes on his knees before Al "Torture Rocks" Gonzales.

Thank god his little red light went off or we'd have to move the hearings over to the Spice Channel.

Teddy K is up now.

(Oh, and kudos to Leahy and Specter who have displayed the appropriate amount of outrage)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Spy versus Spy?

This is just too good.

New York City police are suing . . . New York City police. They say their fellow officers spied on them and violated their civil liberties while they were demonstrating for new contracts. They say the tactics used against them (which are routinely used at anti-war demonstrations) were a violation of the First Amendment rights (remember, we still have those).

Il Baccio Dela Morte

As much as I can't forgive Ciro for his loss (despite being one of the best PEOPLE in Congress when he was here), I had to post this from the Swing State Project:

Go Ciro

The bloggers have picked up the Ciro Rodriguez cause.

See Daily Kos:

TX-28: Ciro Rodriguez
by kos
Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 10:26:21 AM PDT

We've been talking a lot about that Republican in sheep's clothing Henry Cuellar, and we'll do so again moving forward.

But for now, let's talk about Ciro Rodriguez.

[...]

Ciro is a good guy, a good Democrat. In the 107th Congress, Ciro
was ranked 122 outof 213 in the party's left-right scale, right in the middle. He scored more liberal than such party stalwarths as Patrick Kennedy and Joe Hoeffel, and just behind Zoe Lofgren, John Dingell, and Corrine Brown.

This is a guy who showed Henry Cuellar the ropes, introduced him to donors, to other Democratic congresspersons including the entire Hispanic caucus, mentored him, until DeLay redistricted them into the same district and Cuellar decided his personal ambitions were more important than the help and friendship Rodriguez provided.

It's been about 23 hours since I started posting on this race, and in that time the netroots, Atrios, and Firedoglage ActBlue pages have collectively raised nearly $30K. The Cuellar people
dismissed our efforts yesterday as a "one-day story". Too bad for them it won't be.

According to SAEN:

A well-traveled photograph of U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar being embraced by President Bush prior to Tuesday's State of the Union address triggered a rush of Internet donations to one of Cuellar's Democratic primary rivals Thursday.

Within hours of a call to arms being posted on two liberal-leaning political blogs, the Daily Kos and Eschaton, former congressman Ciro Rodriguez's campaign received 263 cyber contributions totaling nearly $12,000, according to ActBlue, a Web-based clearinghouse for Democratic candidates nationwide.


“This may be billed as a Democratic primary, but in this solidly Democratic Latino-majority district, Republicans needed a Republican in sheep's clothing like Cuellar to have a chance of winning,” the Daily Kos blog post read.


Cuellar sucks. Give to Ciro if you can.

http://www.actblue.com/list/CiroforCongress

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Criminals don't like the law...

Disclosure of the warrantless illegal domestic wiretapping program is hurting the ability of NSA employees (accomplices) to carry out their illegal work.

That's the point you dumb fucks!

How to Stalk Someone (including peace protesters)

Un-freakin'-belivable:

First I had to get hold of her phone. It wasn't difficult. We live together and she has no reason not to trust me, so she often leaves it lying around. And, after all, I only needed it for five minutes.

I unplugged her phone and took it upstairs to register it on a website I had been told about. It looks as if the service is mainly for tracking stock and staff movements: the Guardian, rather sensibly, doesn't want me to tell you any more than that. I ticked the website's terms and conditions without reading them, put in my debit card details, and bought 25 GSM Credits for £5 plus vat.

Almost immediately, my girlfriend's phone vibrated with a new text message. "Ben Goldacre has requested to add you to their Buddy List! To accept, simply reply to this message with 'LOCATE'". I sent the requested reply. The phone vibrated again. A second text arrived: "WARNING: [this service] allows other people to know where you are. For your own safety make sure that you know who is locating you." I deleted both these text messages.

On the website, I see the familiar number in my list of "GSM devices" and I click "locate". A map appears of the area in which we live, with a person-shaped blob in the middle, roughly 100 yards from our home. The phone doesn't go off at all. There is no trace of what I'm doing on her phone. I can't quite believe my eyes: I knew that the police could do this, and telecommunications companies, but not any old random person with five minutes access to someone else's phone. I can't find anything in her mobile that could possibly let her know that I'm checking her location. As devious systems go, it's foolproof.

Ask the Greek Prime Minister how easy it is to tap cellphones and track them.

The RNC, boners, taints, and whores...

John Boehner (pronounced bay-ner not the more appropriate "boner") is the new Republican House Majority Leader.

Elected on a platform of lobby reform, Boehner and John Shaddegg consistently insisted their "taint" was less significant than opponent Roy Blunt's apparently massive taint.

Capitol Hill staffers will be familiar with Boehner as he throws what have become legenday parties during Republican National Conventions. In 2004, he allowed lobbyists and special interests to throw a series of elaborate, totally catered all-night bashes at New York City's Tunnel night club. Even the name was a subtle reminder that the "whores" were responsible for the party (or, the Party).

Hill staffers clamored to get the hard to come by tickets to Boehner's "The Best Little Warehouse in NYC" party because they knew that it was the most glitzy and expensive party thrown during each convention.

Looks like he'll be perfect guy to shepherd lobbying reform through the House.

For a recap of the pathetic House leadership race, The Daily Show's summary is probably the best.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Perhaps the most offensive thing in Bush's SOTU...

... was his appropriation of MLK's legacy to advance his own war-mongering. I'm willing to overlook the paean to Coretta Scott King at the beginning. Any president would have had to begin that way.

But take a look at the end of the speech here:

Fellow citizens, we have been called to leadership in a period of consequence. We have entered a great ideological conflict we did nothing to invite. We see great changes in science and commerce that will influence all our lives. And sometimes it can seem that history is turning in a wide arc, toward an unknown shore.

Yet the destination of history is determined by human action, and every great movement of history comes to a point of choosing. Lincoln could have accepted peace at the cost of disunity and continued slavery. Martin Luther King could have stopped at Birmingham or at Selma and achieved only half a victory over segregation. The United States could have accepted the permanent division of Europe and been complicit in the oppression of others. Today, having come far in our own historical journey, we must decide: Will we turn back, or finish well?

Before history is written down in books, it is written in courage. Like Americans before us, we will show that courage, and we will finish well. We will lead freedom's advance. We will compete and excel in the global economy. We will renew the defining moral commitments of this land. And so we move forward, optimistic about our country, faithful to its cause, and confident of the victories to come.


So he essentially is saying that the legacy of MLK -- a man committed to nonviolence who spent the last years of his life speaking out against the Vietnam war -- is somehow "honored" by rejecting calls for withdrawal from our present-day Vietnam, Iraq.

The line about "And sometimes it can seem that history is turning in a wide arc, toward an unknown shore" even echoes King's line about "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.''

So Bush wants to continue fighting this war in Iraq. Though you can never say for certain where he would have stood on this issue, consider what King said:

"Testimony of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr." Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1966.


It is a question of the allocation of money, which means the establishing of priorities.

Instead of joyfully committing ourselves to the war on poverty, a grudging parsimonious allocation of resources is measured out as if we feared to overkill. In contrast, the exploration of space engages not only our enthusiasm but our patriotism. Developing it as a global race, we have intensified its inherent drama and brought its adventure into every living room, nursery, shop and office. No such fervor nor exhilaration attends the war on poverty. There is impatience with its problems, indifference toward its progress, and pronounced hostility toward its errors. Without denying the value of scientific endeavor, there is a striking absurdity in committing billions to reach the moon where no people live, and from which non presently can benefit, while the densely populated slums are allocated miniscule appropriations. With the continuation of these strange values in a few years we can be assured that we will set a man on the moon and with an adequate telescope he will be able to see the slum on earth with their intensified congestion, decay, and turbulence. On what scale of values is this a program of progress?

THE WASTE OF WAR


In still another area the expenditure of resources knows no restraints -- here, our abundance is fully recognized and enthusiastically squandered. This is the waste of war. While the antipoverty program is cautiously initiated, zealously supervised, and evaluated for immediate results, billions are liberally expended for ill-considered warfare. The recently revealed misestimate of the war budget amounts to $10 billion for a single year. The error alone is more than five times the amount committed to antipoverty programs.

The security we profess to seek in foreign adventures, we will lose in our decaying cities. The bombs in Vietnam explode at home -- they destroy the hopes and possibilities for a decent America.



Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence
By Rev. Martin Luther King 4 April 1967
Speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City


Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It wassending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem.

[...]

As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked -- and rightly so -- what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

[...]

I think of them too because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries. They must see Americans as strange liberators.

[...]

When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

[...]

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

Does anyone really think he would support Bush's illegal war of choice against Iraq? Does anyone think that the decision of King to struggle on for civil rights after Selma is equatable to Bush's refusal to admit we've already lost in Iraq and waste another few 100 (1,000?) American lives there?

Add to the outrage the fact that this president is slowly but certainly eroding the very civil rights King struggled for. Specifically, Bush's political appointees at DOJ consistently overruled staff attorneys on whether states like GA and TX have been violating the voting rights of minorities.

Politics Alleged In Voting Cases
Justice Officials Are Accused of Influence

By Dan Eggen, Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 23, 2006; Page A01

The Justice Department's voting section, a small and usually obscure unit that enforces the Voting Rights Act and other federal election laws, has been thrust into the center of a growing debate over recent departures and controversial decisions in the Civil Rights Division as a whole.

Many current and former lawyers in the section charge that senior officials have exerted undue political influence in many of the sensitive voting-rights cases the unit handles. Most of the department's major voting-related actions over the past five years have been beneficial to the GOP, they say, including two in Georgia, one in Mississippi and a Texas redistricting plan orchestrated by Rep. Tom DeLay (R) in 2003.


And, finally consider, this new (though unsurprising) report:

Study Ties Political Leanings to Hidden Biases
By Shankar Vedantam, Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 30, 2006; Page A05

Another study presented at the conference, which was in Palm Springs, Calif., explored relationships between racial bias and political affiliation by analyzing self-reported beliefs, voting patterns and the results of psychological tests that measure implicit attitudes -- subtle stereotypes people hold about various groups.

That study found that supporters of President Bush and other conservatives had stronger self-admitted and implicit biases against blacks than liberals did.

[...]

The analysis found that substantial majorities of Americans, liberals and conservatives, found it more difficult to associate black faces with positive concepts than white faces -- evidence of implicit bias. But districts that registered higher levels of bias systematically produced more votes for Bush.

"Obviously, such research does not speak at all to the question of the prejudice level of the president," said Banaji, "but it does show that George W. Bush is appealing as a leader to those Americans who harbor greater anti-black prejudice."

[...]

"If anyone in Washington is skeptical about these findings, they are in denial," he said. "We have 50 years of evidence that racial prejudice predicts voting. Republicans are supported by whites with prejudice against blacks. If people say, 'This takes me aback,' they are ignoring a huge volume of research."