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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 05/01/2005 - 05/08/2005
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Dubya's economic track record

(thanks to bonddad at kos)

yep, it's ugly all right...

The numbers below are for 2000-2004.

The Financial markets

S&P 500 -15%
Dow Jones -5.3%

Consumer income and expenses and Standard of Living

Price of a Gallon of Gas +46%
Real Value of the Minimum Wage -7%
Median Household Income -4%
Average cost of 4-year public college +24%
Poverty Rate +11%
Americans filing for Bankruptcy +33%
Annual Increase in Prescription Drug Prices (from 4.1% t0 6.8%) +68%
Number of Americans without Health insurance +18%

Federal Finances

Federal Debt +39%
Monthly Trade Deficit +75%
Annual Trade Deficit +53%

The dollar

Dollar versus Euro -30%
Dollar versus Yen -11%

Consumer Debt

Home Mortgage Borrowing +100%
Total Outstanding Consumer Debt +28%
Household Debt as a Percentage of Assets: 20%
Household Debt as a Percentage of GDP +21%

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Is this putz deliberately trying to pick a fight...?

President Bush has branded the former Soviet domination of eastern Europe one of "the greatest wrongs of history".

oh, swell... and tomorrow the putz flies to moscow to meet with putin... am i smoking it or is dubya setting something up here...?

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More on the emerging Inquisition

why, it was only yesterday we learned of the ouster of the jesuit editor of the catholic magazine "america" by the vatican for criticism of the church... now this...

Archbishop Harry Flynn has told gay-rights supporters they can't receive Holy Communion while wearing rainbow-colored sashes because it is seen as a protest against Catholic teaching and unacceptable to the VATICAN [a/k/a RAT-zinger]. Flynn's decision, conveyed in a letter this week to the Rainbow Sash Alliance USA, reverses his four-year policy of not interfering with sash-wearers receiving Communion at the Cathedral of St. Paul.

i can see i'm going to have to start keeping an "inquisition" file...

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John highlights Sen. Schumer's radio address

over at americablog, john keeps his eye on the ball...

"Chuck Schumer delivered the Democratic Radio Address today. Chuck really is one smart, tough SOB. He asked Bush to put a halt to the right wing radicals. [...] Bush is their leader. Schumer's right. One word from Bush would stop the madness. My bet is we will never hear Bush utter any word in that direction."

if bush/cheney/rove can dig themselves so far into the hole as they have over bolton, why would we expect them to put some curbs on their political base...?

sen. schumer sees, as many of us do...

"a whiff of extremism in the air the likes of which we haven't seen in decades."

"mccarthyism" is the term that keeps cropping up... there's another one that i think makes a better fit: fascism...

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Another not-so-sunny round-up...

somewhere the sun is shining...

it seems that the bush/cheney/rove axis of evil is going to the mat for bolton...

the latest is that, via negroponte, the ex-contra and "friend of ollie," cheney has scotched the release of the nsa intercepts that had been requested by the senate foreign relations committee... steve clemons isn't happy and we shouldn't be either...

"The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will not get the much-wanted National Security Agency intercepts in which John Bolton expressed so much interest. [...] Under Secretaries with questionable intentions can get the transcripts -- but Senators with Constitutional oversight responsibilities seemingly cannot. [...] Dick Cheney and John Bolton's protectors are ever more committed to an imperial presidency -- unchallenged by other institutions of the U.S. government.

bush is in latvia on the first day of his "european vacation..." so far, it isn't going well...

with russia still to come on the agenda, putin ain't happy with the boy emperor's big mouth... in an interview released last night, bush repeated what he had told vladimir in february... "I said, 'do you understand, friend, that you've got problems in the Baltics'?"

no condescension there...

but, as a former kgb man, putin gives better than he gets...

in an interview with 60 minutes to air tomorrow, putin says that America should not be lecturing him about rollbacks on democracy when "four years ago your presidential election was decided by the court."

nice one, vladimir...!

commenting on evolution on trial in kansas, federal judges under attack from fundamentalist christians, and the arrogance of trying to convert the world to democarcy, maureen dowd closes with this... "

[A] spine-tingling he-monster with the power to drag us back into the pre-Darwinian dark ages is slouching around Washington. It's a fire-breathing creature with the head of W., the body of Bill Frist and the serpent tail of Tom DeLay."

and, finally, in a master-stroke of hypocrisy and in-your-face denial...

"The Bush administration reaffirmed its commitment to prohibiting torture in a report Friday to the U.N..."

but read a little more closely...

"[T]he 95-page report, which focused primarily on police abuses within the United States, avoided any discussion of the CIA's role in transferring secret "ghost detainees" to foreign countries for interrogation. It also sidestepped the question of whether U.S. authorities are obligated to bar the mistreatment of detainees held outside the United States."

is everybody happy...? let's go enjoy the weekend...

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Friday, May 06, 2005

Damn...! I REALLY like Harry Reid...!

"The man's father is a wonderful human being," Reid said in response to a question about President Bush's policies. "I think this guy is a loser.

"I think President Bush is doing a bad job," he added to a handful of chuckles.

"He's driving this country into bankruptcy," Reid said, referring to the deficit. "He's got us in this intractable war in Iraq where we now have about 1,600 American soldiers dead and another 15,000 injured."

don't beat around the bush (pardon the pun), harry, tell us how you REALLY feel...!

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Military dictatorships and repressive governments 'r' us

The Pentagon notified congress on Friday of a proposed sale to Pakistan of 40 air-launched and 20 ground-launched Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles and related materials. [...] "The modernization will enhance Pakistan's legitimate self-defense capability," the Pentagon told congress, which has 30 days to move to block any such government-to-government arms sale. The sale would not affect the basic military balance in the region, the notice said.

let's wait to see what INDIA has to say about selling missles to pakistan NOT affecting "the basic military balance in the region" and how they enhance "Pakistan's legitimate self-defense capability..." india and pakistan are just beginning the long road to building a relationship that has been on life support ever since the split... bus service was just resumed between the two countries with the route passing through the hotly-contested area of kashmir... the balance is fragile... is the u.s. trying to affect the balance...? or am i just being cynical... nah...

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Oh, good... Another prominent voice opposes Bolton...

maybe richard armitage is saying one thing publicly about john bolton (Armitage Endorses U.N. Ambassador Nominee) and another privately as steve clemons contends, but it's still nice to hear someone publicly speaking their mind without being so nuanced that you're not sure what the hell he's really saying...
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, told Senate investigators Friday that it would be a mistake to confirm Bolton as U.N. ambassador.

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And so it begins... The next Inquisition...

this is big, you better believe it... it didn't take RAT-zinger long to make his move... yeah, sure, he spun his image after the inaugural (or whatever you call a papal coronation) and talked oh-so-sweetly about "inclusiveness" and "reaching out," but i just knew it had to be too good to be true... he didn't earn the name "enforcer" by being some kind of pansy wuss... this is just the beginning... now we're gonna see how his hard-assness REALLY operates...
The editor of "America," an influential Catholic weekly magazine, has been sacked on orders from the Vatican, which threatened to impose a "board of censors" to oversee the magazine if he stayed, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

"He was forced out," NCR editor Tom Roberts said of the Rev. Thomas Reese, S.J., who had run "America" for seven years. Frequently quoted in the secular press, Reese also had been a CNN commentator during the funeral of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI.

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Good reading at Booman Tribune

booman has put together an outstanding summary of events leading up to the attack on iraq based on the recent surfacing of the secret memo in the uk and on background provided by ray McGovern, a former high level member of the cia... it's well worth the time to read... here's a teaser...
Actually, politicization is far too mild a word for what happened. The intelligence was not simply mistaken; it was manufactured, with the president of the United States awarding foreman George Tenet the Medal of Freedom for his role in helping supervise the deceit.

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Arrrrrgh...! Brick by brick...

no gay sperm donors, no democrats in churches, no choice for women, no non-christian judges, no science... brick by brick, the house of reason is being demolished...
"Evolution is a great theory, but it is flawed," said Martin, 59, a retired science and elementary school teacher who is presiding over the hearings. "There are alternatives. Children need to hear them…. We can't ignore that our nation is based on Christianity — not science."


[H]earings in Topeka, scheduled to last several days, are focusing on two proposals. The first recommends that students continue to be taught the theory of evolution because it is key to understanding biology. The other proposes that Kansas alter the definition of science, not limiting it to theories based on natural explanations.

it's ironic in a way... since the renaissance and the scientific revolution, science has often been decried as a religion of its own... in some ways that's true... but, while scientific rigor has occasionally conspired to silence alternative voices, the scientific method still stands as the most fundamental system of solid reason we have... it appears now, if our fundamentalist christian fellow citizens have their way, it may soon be gone...

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Hmmm... Reid's latest on filibuster

on the one hand, the headline says...

"Reid Says He Doesn't Intend to Filibuster"

then the article goes on to say...

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid has privately told individual Republicans he doesn't intend to block votes on any Supreme Court nominees except in extreme cases.

extreme, huh...? reid goes on to say...
''I can never say there will never be a filibuster because I cannot say that,'' he said recently on the Senate floor.

double negative... tsk, tsk...

not so very long ago (even tho' it seems like years in blogosphere time)...

[Frist] proposed retaining existing filibuster rules for district court nominees while guaranteeing a yes-or-no vote for appointees to the appeals court and Supreme Court.

Reid swiftly denounced it as ''a big fat wet kiss to the far right.''

Asked afterward whether there were additional compromises he could offer, Reid seemed less that definitive.

''The answer is, not at this point,'' he said.

reid's gotta wait to see what the response to THIS compromise offer is gonna be first, you ninny...!

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SSDD...? [UPDATE: There may be hope yet...]

[UPDATE: 88 members of Congress have signed the letter written by Rep. John Conyers on May 2.]

in the same shit, different day dept., i had so hoped that the release of the secret downing street memo would be picked up by the msm here and pasted over every front page and tv screen in the country... alas, it seems futile hope is all that's left for those who are appalled at the blinders worn by the media and the self-inflicted sensory deprivation of the american public... at least salon, hardly a major media voice, feels strongly enough to speak out...
Are Americans so jaded about the deceptions perpetrated by our own government to lead us into war in Iraq that we are no longer interested in fresh and damning evidence of those lies? Or are the editors and producers who oversee the American news industry simply too timid to report that proof on the evening broadcasts and front pages?

evidently the answers to those questions are, "yes" and "yes..."

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Not-so-good news Friday

a fairly gloomy way to start off a weekend...
[Colin] Powell's closest friend, former deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage, endorsed Bolton in a statement to the Associated Press. "John Bolton is eminently qualified. He's one of the smartest guys in Washington."

given that, from everything i've heard and read, armitage has little use for bolton and worked closely with powell to neutralize him, what snakes through the back of my mind is the quote from rove when he was speaking of a political operative who crossed him... "We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever fucked him!"
"Just think of what we could accomplish if we checked our pride at the door, if collectively we all spent less time taking credit and more time deserving it," DeLay told the 54th annual National Day of Prayer gathering on Capitol Hill. [...] The opening prayer was offered by James C. Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family.

delay's quote alone is enough to make you toss your wheaties but the thought of that hate-filled creep, dobson, even being allowed entrance to the "ornate Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building" in our nation's capitol angers me beyond words...
The Bush administration, in one of its biggest environmental decisions, moved yesterday to open nearly one-third of all remote national forest lands to road building, logging and other commercial ventures. [...] "Yesterday, nearly 60 million acres of national forests were protected, and today as a result of deliberate action by the administration they are not," said Robert Vandermark, director of the Heritage Forests Campaign

the arrogance of this administration in its unbridled attack on our environment is breathtaking...
According to the Medicare trustees, the fiscal gap over the next 75 years created by the 2003 law - not the financing gap for Medicare as a whole, just the additional gap created by legislation passed 18 months ago - will be $8.7 trillion. [...] That's about three times the amount President Bush proposes to save by cutting middle-class Social Security benefits.

krugman continues to beat the drum on health care special interests and how they hold the health care system hostage...
Religion and politics clash over a local church's declaration that Democrats are not welcome. East Waynesville Baptist asked nine members to leave. Now 40 more have left the church in protest. Former members say Pastor Chan Chandler gave them the ultimatum, saying if they didn't support George Bush, they should resign or repent.

after yesterday's fda announcement that gays are no longer acceptable sperm donors, do you think that things may be getting out of control when democrats are being banned from churches...?

sometimes it just doesn't pay to get out of bed...

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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Bush spends his capital...!

oh, i love this one...


makin' some good progress there,

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One by one, the pieces fall into place... "Then they will come for us..."

[T]he Food and Drug Administration is about to implement new rules recommending that any man who has engaged in homosexual sex in the previous five years be barred from serving as an anonymous sperm donor.


"This rule will make things legally more difficult for them," [Dr. Deborah Cohan, an obstetrics and gynecology instructor at the University of California, San Francisco], said. "I can't think of a scientifically valid reason — it has to be an issue of discrimination."

environmentalist posted an extensive diary today in kos... he's scared and so am i...
Make no mistake, my friends. The dismantling of the democratic state is well under way.

We had better `get it', and we had better get it now. Because, don't fool yourself. They may begin with the homosexuals or the minorities but then they will come for us. They will come for the environmentalists, the lawyers, the scientists, the educators, the literati, the entertainers. Make no mistake; once they begin they will come for us. For all of us.

In the end, we can't let this happen.

in the end, i plan to be somewhere else...

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Reminder: Bolton hearing set for May 12, 10 a.m. EDT

there's a ton of undercurrents surrounding the bolton nomination and the best place to keep up is on steve clemon's site, the washington note... one thing steve hearkened back to this afternoon bears repeating here not only because i totally agree with him but because it also underlies the dysfunctional power dynamic that has possessed the bush administration from the moment the florida debacle was settled... it also, as so much else does in the bush administration, highlights two of the most craven power lords, cheney and rove... steve doesn't mention rove in his comments and perhaps i'm paranoid, but one of the nastiest smells emanating from this administration has the initials kr...


John Bolton's blind loyalty in the past and present to Jesse Helms, Dick Cheney, and to George Bush's successful presidential race in the year 2000 was the type of total loyalty, devoid of content, that now makes it difficult for the White House to cut loose from his troubled campaign to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

If the White House, and particularly Dick Cheney, drop Bolton too easily, other zealots counting on total support from the White House will have to recalculate their affections. The White House does not really care much about the U.N. as an institution, but they do care about sending signals to their most loyal followers that the Bush-Cheney machine won't totally stand behind their people.

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McNamara Speaks Out on Nuclear Weapons

Robert McNamara who is, for me, a real blast from the past, offers a surprising (coming from him) perspective on nuclear weapons in the May/June issue of Foreign Policy (free, registration required). While he was Defense Secretary under LBJ and ordering secret bombings in Cambodia, I was on the other side of the border in Vietman trying to make sure I was going to get back home in one piece. Well, they say age mellows.

I've excerpted some key passages from a very long article. What I think McNamara does here is remind us of the potential horror we live with every day. It's particularly timely given the nuclear weapons conference that took place this week at the U.S.

At the risk of appearing simplistic and provocative, I would characterize current U.S. nuclear weapons policy as immoral, illegal, militarily unnecessary, and dreadfully dangerous. The risk of an accidental or inadvertent nuclear launch is unacceptably high.



Today, the United States has deployed approximately 4,500 strategic, offensive nuclear warheads. Russia has roughly 3,800.


How destructive are these weapons? The average U.S. warhead has a destructive power 20 times that of the Hiroshima bomb. Of the 8,000 active or operational U.S. warheads, 2,000 are on hair-trigger alert, ready to be launched on 15 minutes’ warning. How are these weapons to be used? The United States has never endorsed the policy of “no first use,” not during my seven years as secretary or since. We have been and remain prepared to initiate the use of nuclear weapons—by the decision of one person, the president—against either a nuclear or nonnuclear enemy whenever we believe it is in our interest to do so.


The whole situation seems so bizarre as to be beyond belief. On any given day, as we go about our business, the president is prepared to make a decision within 20 minutes that could launch one of the most devastating weapons in the world. To declare war requires an act of congress, but to launch a nuclear holocaust requires 20 minutes’ deliberation by the president and his advisors.


A 2000 report by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War describes the likely effects of a single 1 megaton weapon—dozens of which are contained in the Russian and U.S. inventories. At ground zero, the explosion creates a crater 300 feet deep and 1,200 feet in diameter. Within one second, the atmosphere itself ignites into a fireball more than a half-mile in diameter. The surface of the fireball radiates nearly three times the light and heat of a comparable area of the surface of the sun, extinguishing in seconds all life below and radiating outward at the speed of light, causing instantaneous severe burns to people within one to three miles. A blast wave of compressed air reaches a distance of three miles in about 12 seconds, flattening factories and commercial buildings. Debris carried by winds of 250 mph inflicts lethal injuries throughout the area. At least 50 percent of people in the area die immediately, prior to any injuries from radiation or the developing firestorm.


the Bush administration is planning an extensive and expensive series of programs to sustain and modernize the existing nuclear force and to begin studies for new launch vehicles, as well as new warheads for all of the launch platforms. Some members of the administration have called for new nuclear weapons that could be used as bunker busters against underground shelters (such as the shelters Saddam Hussein used in Baghdad). New production facilities for fissile materials would need to be built to support the expanded force. The plans provide for integrating a national ballistic missile defense into the new triad of offensive weapons to enhance the nation’s ability to use its “power projection forces” by improving our ability to counterattack an enemy. The Bush administration also announced that it has no intention to ask congress to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and, though no decision to test has been made, the administration has ordered the national laboratories to begin research on new nuclear weapons designs and to prepare the underground test sites in Nevada for nuclear tests if necessary in the future.


[T]he Bush administration’s nuclear program, alongside its refusal to ratify the CTBT, will be viewed, with reason, by many nations as equivalent to a U.S. break from the treaty. It says to the nonnuclear weapons nations, “We, with the strongest conventional military force in the world, require nuclear weapons in perpetuity, but you, facing potentially well-armed opponents, are never to be allowed even one nuclear weapon.”


Neither the Bush administration, the congress, the American people, nor the people of other nations have debated the merits of alternative, long-range nuclear weapons policies for their countries or the world. They have not examined the military utility of the weapons; the risk of inadvertent or accidental use; the moral and legal considerations relating to the use or threat of use of the weapons; or the impact of current policies on proliferation. Such debates are long overdue. If they are held, I believe they will conclude, as have I and an increasing number of senior military leaders, politicians, and civilian security experts: We must move promptly toward the elimination—or near elimination—of all nuclear weapons.

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Bush "emasculated...?" No sense of humor... [Update]

as it turns out, the whole thing is bogus, fabricated, made-up, and not true... the drudge report got suckered and so did i... but it's still funny as hell...


you gotta watch your step all the time with these guys...

(from the swift report)
The First Lady may have stolen the show with her surprise comedy routine at the 91st White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, but not everyone appreciated her jokes and one-liners poking fun at President Bush.

take a look at the letter... it's hysterical...


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The Kearney Globalization Index

The A.T. Kearney/FOREIGN POLICY Globalization Index (free, registration required) ranks political, economic, personal, and technological globalization in 62 countries across 4 categories and 12 sub-items. Despite coming in as #4 on the overall list behind #1 Singapore, #2 Ireland, and #3 Switzerland, it's very interesting to note the areas where the U.S. very nearly bottoms out.

(more, with rankings chart)

In the overall Economic category, the U.S. ranks as #60 and in the specific economic item, Trade, ranks #61. In the Personal Contact category, Remittances and Personal Transfers ranks #58. In the Political Engagement Category, Treaties ranks #57. Even more interesting is that the U.S. is the only country in the top 27 that ranks in the bottom 10 in 3 items. The next country behind the U.S. to have 3 bottom-ranking items is 28th-ranked Japan. There are 21 countries that do not rank in the bottom 10 in any category or item.

Kearney explains the poor rating in the economic and trade categories this way.

In part, the United States’ lackluster performance in economic areas is due to its vibrant domestic market. Because many U.S. producers can focus exclusively on satisfying U.S. consumers, the United States is a less trade-dependent nation than small exporting countries such as Singapore and Ireland. In some ways, the U.S. economy is a world unto itself.

The poor performance in the treaties category should be understandable to anyone who follows the news.
Consider the United States’ skepticism of international treaty regimes. In 2003, the Bush administration continued to turn up its nose at a variety of international agreements. The White House’s opposition to the Kyoto Protocol and the International Criminal Court is well known. But the Bush administration didn’t even want to sign on to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes. The United States looks suspiciously at many of the new legal and institutional arrangements that are binding the world together, at least on paper. As a result, the United States ranks 57th of the 62 ranked countries—below China and Pakistan—when it comes to signing on the dotted line.

Comment: Below China and Pakistan? That's embarrassing in light of how much the U.S. trumpets rule-of-law and global cooperation.

Kearney/FOREIGN POLICY Globalization Index 2005

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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Ah, the VLWC rears its ugly head - again

tommy is just so QUOTABLE...!
Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the House Democratic campaign committee, which has made DeLay a top target in next year's congressional elections largely because of the ethics questions swirling around the him, proposed legislation on Wednesday to toughen lobbying laws.


Asked if he supported the proposal, DeLay said, "I'm not interested in the water that they are carrying for some of these leftist groups."

i wish somebody could give me the address of that doggone Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy so i could run down and sign up...

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"By whatever means necessary"

cal thomas writes a column syndicated by tribune media services that is published in more than 540 newspapers.. he is the most widely syndicated political columnist in the u.s... i emailed mr. thomas regarding his may 2 column on terrorism in which he defends torture as a legitimate interrogation technique... i particularly wanted to comment on this quote...
"These people are evil to the core. The only way to protect ourselves is to extract information they might have by whatever means necessary."


(more from cal who is obviously taking w-a-a-a-ay too much testosterone supplement... i wonder if he knows ollie north... hmmm...)
The barbarians are at the gate. In fact, they have broken down the gate. Why are we letting them in and treating them only a little more harshly than unwelcome holiday relatives?

Some will say harsh tactics will cause the Arab world to hate us even more. They already hate us enough, or haven't we noticed? This isn't about winning a congeniality contest. It's about winning a war and defeating an enemy so they won't try this garbage again. Let's put the fear of God into them and stop putting it unnecessarily into ourselves.

Mr. Thomas,

I'm finding it difficult to summon the right words to respond to a statement like this.

"These people are evil to the core. The only way to protect ourselves is to extract information they might have by whatever means necessary."

I have always believed that people who thought like this either lived in another country, were from another time, or were seriously warped in their thinking. Now you seem to be coming out of the woodwork.

I am seriously afraid, Mr. Thomas, for what I see happening in our country. The fact that opinions such as yours are printed and read around the U.S. saddens me beyond words and makes me deeply fearful for our future as a nation.

I sincerely hope you never have to experience the shoe being on the other foot. Listening to your macho, hate-filled rhetoric directed back at you or, worse yet, having someone take "whatever means necessary" to coerce you into whatever it might be they needed you to say or do would not be something I would wish on another human being.

In closing, let me ask you this. Think about how you would like America to be. Think about how you would like America to be admired and respected. Think about the millions of people around the world who have looked to us for inspiration, for hope, for leadership, and for the affirmation of basic human values. Then read your words again - slowly and carefully.

Best regards,

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Wow...! This is a biggie...!

from this morning...
Judge Throws Out England's Guilty Plea

The action came after Graner, the reputed ringleader of the abuse, testified at England's sentencing hearing that pictures he took of England holding a naked prisoner on a leash at Abu Ghraib were meant to be used as a legitimate training aid for other guards.

When England pleaded guilty Monday, she told the judge she knew that the pictures were being taken purely for the amusement of the guards.

Pohl said the two statements could not be reconciled.

"You can't have a one-person conspiracy," the judge said before he declared a mistrial and dismissed the jury.

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Blogs... Harrrrumph...!

in a column entitled, "When Those Pesky Blogs Undermine NPR News," the crochety National Public Radio Ombudsman, Jeffrey A. Dvorkin, ostensibly fights for journalistic ethics but instead sounds to me more like bemoaning a loss of turf...


[T]he blogosphere has proven once again to be an amoral place with few rules. The consequences for misbehavior are still vague. The possibility of civic responsibility remains remote. It is a place where the philosophy of "who posts first, wins" predominates.

Perhaps these younger people will outgrow these youthful informational indiscretions and come to their senses -- and back to media that can serve them best...

I have my doubts...

before i start carrying on, let me pause and take a moment to ROFLMAO over his use of the word "misbehavior..." there probably isn't another word in the whole damn column that better captures his age and, even though age isn't much of a determining factor these days, certainly his mindset...


dear dvorkin,

at the ripening age of 57, i resort to the internet almost exclusively for my news and information primarily due to a severe lack of it in msm sources... i learned a long, long time ago (in vietnam, to be exact, after observing the news-gathering habits of time magazine and marsh clark) not to take msm accounts at face value... on the internet and through the blogs, i can pore over a vast array of sources, domestic and foreign, and can begin (note the use of the word "begin") to formulate a bigger picture of what's going on...

what's happening with the blogs, partly if not wholly in reaction to the dismal state of msm in the u.s., is the rise of two things that are, to me, very exciting...

the first is a brand-new phenomenon - citizen journalism... if traditional sources either can't or won't deliver the news, what choice is there but to dig it out yourself...?

the second is as old as the country itself - direct citizen participation in government... example: during the senate foreign relations committee hearings on john bolton, a number of bloggers, myself included, were monitoring the hearings on c-span 2 and posting real-time comments in an online discussion forum... the truly remarkable part of the story is that staffers for the senators on the committee were monitoring US monitoring THEM... if that isn't direct citizen participation, i don't know what is...

best regards...


then just to prove he doesn't know what he's talking about, he adds this...

NPR's political editor Ken Rudin has a column (See "Political Junkie," link below), on the NPR Web site. It is, as he readily admits, a blog, albeit one that is sanctioned and sustained by NPR, just as this column is also a blog. [bold mine]

NOT... a "column" is not a "blog" is not a "column..."

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Social darwinism in action...

"America doesn't have the world's best health care system, just the most expensive." In fact, as Paul Krugman points out, our system is "uniquely inefficient." America continues to "spend far more per person on health care than any other country, yet many Americans lack health insurance and don't receive essential care."

but since we don't pay any attention to what's going on in other countries...

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Mexico moves (further) south

the mexican people have about had it with the monied elites calling the shots, and with good reason... a tide of populism is sweeping latin america, and mexico, along with argentina, uruguay, venezuela, brazil, and ecuador may have some interesting changes in the cards...
[Mexico City Mayor] Andrés Manuel López Obrador is considered the favorite to be elected president next year.

"What we saw last Sunday was proof that this is a new society," the mayor said during an interview last week, referring to the protest march, "that the traditional structures of power are not in control, not even with all their money and media."

the bushies and corporate amerika CANNOT be happy about this development on our southern border... bush had the chance to make a real ally out of mexico but instead chose to thumb his nose at them repeatedly... don't think the citizens didn't notice...

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David Neiwert on the Minutemen

[T]he Project actually shut down early for a lack of volunteers. And in the end, the Project seems to be lauded more for not having had any tragedies occur during its tenure than anything else.

My greatest concern is that this is, in effect, the first official embrace of right-wing extremist vigilantism by supposedly mainstream authorities on record. That is a benchmark with deeply disturbing ramifications.

This is, after all, an organization that has indicated it intends to expand its purview. And the concept of the Minutemen as a right-wing citizen vigilante force has uses well beyond even border patrols. These endorsements [like arnold] may wind up giving the Minutemen more than their 15 seconds of fame -- and that could be a problem for many years to come.

that's precisely what i find so troubling about this... positive, official acknowledgement of thinly-veiled bigotry, white supremacy and racism gives me the cold shakes...

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No more EPA...? No more FDA...? No more SEC...?

how very interesting... you absolutely cannot rest for one second with this administration... you not only have to stay awake 24/7, you'd also better have x-ray vision, the ability to read minds and eyes in the back of your head... the really scarey part is the stuff we haven't uncovered yet...
The spending plan that President Bush submitted to Congress this year contains 2,000 pages that outline funding to safeguard the environment, protect workers from injury and death, crack down on securities fraud and ensure the safety of prescription drugs. But almost unnoticed in the budget, tucked away in a single paragraph, is a provision that could make every one of those protections a thing of the past.
The proposal, spelled out in three short sentences, would give the president the power to appoint an eight-member panel called the "Sunset Commission," which would systematically review federal programs every ten years and decide whether they should be eliminated. Any programs that are not "producing results," in the eyes of the commission, would "automatically terminate unless the Congress took action to continue them."


the commission would enable the Bush administration to achieve what Ronald Reagan only dreamed of: the end of government regulation as we know it. With a simple vote of five commissioners -- many of them likely to be lobbyists and executives from major corporations currently subject to federal oversight -- the president could terminate any program or agency he dislikes. No more Environmental Protection Agency. No more Food and Drug Administration. No more Securities and Exchange Commission.


"This is potentially devastating," says Wesley Warren, who served as a senior OMB official in the Clinton administration. "In short order, this could knock out protections that have been built up over a generation."

Others note that the provision goes beyond anything attempted by conservatives in the past. "When you look at this," says Marchant Wentworth, a lobbyist for the Union of Concerned Scientists, "it's almost like the Reagan administration was a trial run."

when the r's get through, there's gonna be nothin' left and, gee, that was the plan from the very beginning...

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Show me the money...

Top Republicans are now making an art out of selling off their government experience to the highest bidder.

now...?? seems to me they didn't stumble over this idea in the dark just last night...

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Something to keep in mind

My attitude is I've got to have more orgasms to get through these times. It's the only antidote to violence.

hang on, let me write that down...

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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Whitewash from the White House

How can President Bush preach to the world about democracy, about transparency, about the rule of law, and at the same time disregard national and international law at will? [...] Ultimately, there will be no free pass for the Bush administration officials who permitted torture, or for a Congress that let them get away with it.

i so hope you're right... of all the crap that's come out of the bush administration - and there's been a ton - this is by far the most sordid... it's hard to comprehend that our president, who authorized away geneva, which in turn trickled down through general sanchez and his counterparts, can so blithely sidestep accountability... and make no mistake... the buck stops in the oval office...

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U.K. says "Won't Invade Iran..."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair insisted yesterday that his government had no plans to launch an invasion of Iran.

tony's gonna wait to tell everybody until AFTER the elections...

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Yay, Senator Byrd...!

he's a sly old codger, that byrd... just slipped it right in there...
Congressional negotiators have agreed to bar government agencies for one year from issuing video news releases that do not clearly identify themselves as the source, Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd said on Tuesday.

Senate and House negotiators agreed to include the measure in an emergency spending bill banning the use of taxpayer dollars for producing the releases, which often resemble news segments, unless they include a written or audible notice.

"It is simply not right for administration departments and agencies to try to snooker the American people, producing propaganda and passing it off as legitimate news," the West Virginia lawmaker said in a statement.


President Bush has said the onus is on broadcasters to identify the source of information.

of COURSE he does... what a weenie...

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May 2 in Baghdad - "We only heard 6."

~sigh~ it's gettin' worse, not better...

(from baghdad burning...)
These last few days have been explosive- quite literally. It started about 4 days ago and it hasn't let up since. They say there were around 14 car bombs in Baghdad alone a couple of days ago- although we only heard 6 from our area. Cars are making me very nervous lately. All cars look suspicious- small ones and large ones. Old cars and new cars. Cars with drivers and cars parked in front of restaurants and shops. They all have a sinister look to them these days.

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"For America, it is blowback time."

i wonder how many folks in the u.s. have any idea of how negatively the u.s. is viewed around the world... probably quite a few but my hunch is that it's often based on superficial information, stereotypes, and a lack of real understanding...

i'm always interested in chatting with taxi drivers in the various cities i visit since they're generally a reliable barometer of local public opinion... over the past few years, in addition to the inevitable question, "are you american?" the second question is almost guaranteed to be, "and what do you think of bush...?" if i share my own negative opinion, look out, it's "katie bar the door...!" sometimes, we have gotten so involved in the conversation that, when we arrive at my destination, the driver pulls over to the curb and turns the meter off and we keep right on going...

here's a few snippets from a great article if you'd like to get a better handle on how the rest of the world sees the u.s. - and why...

(from the international herald tribune)
Sixteen years ago the cold war ended and an age of globalization dawned, of which America is the driving force and emblem. This age has lifted tens of millions of people from poverty. But it has also proved divisive and dangerous in ways the United States never imagined when the Berlin Wall fell.

America, with its certitudes, its movie stars and Starbucks, has never loomed larger on television screens or in individual psyches, where it lures but also repels. The United States sees itself spreading its gifts, inspiring a global tide of liberty, but often it is seen as the symbol not of opportunity but of a threatening modernity: trampler of tradition, mouther of hypocrisies, poor listener, bully, robber baron disguising its intent in a cloak of noble convictions.


A global world is full of false images: no longer the mind-bending inventions of totalitarian societies but the cascading inflections of ideas and images endlessly retransmitted by the latest advances of technology. America, in this sense, is trapped in a web of its own creation.

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No comment necessary... [UPDATE]

George Stephanopoulos: [Y]ou have described . . . the out-of-control judiciary . . . is (sic) the most serious threat America has faced in nearly 400 years of history, more serious than al Qaeda, more serious than Nazi Germany and Japan, more serious than the Civil War?

Pat Robertson: George, I really believe that. I think they are destroying the fabric that holds our nation together. . . . I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that’s held our country together is probably MORE SERIOUS THAN A FEW BEARDED TERRORISTS THAT FLY INTO BUILDINGS.

(UPDATE: Sen. Frank Lautenberg isn't sitting still for Robertson's appalling comments and is also asking Frist to take a stand.)

(thanks to raw story)
Reverend Pat Robertson
Founder and Chairman

The Christian Broadcasting Network
977 Centerville Turnpike
Virginia Beach, VA 23463

Dear Reverend Robertson,

It was shocking to hear your cavalier dismissal of the atrocious 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon by describing them as “a few bearded terrorists who fly planes into buildings.”

It is hard to believe that an American could so coldly describe the murder of more than 3,000 human beings, the demolition of facilities thought of as indestructible and the crushing psychological damage to our national confidence.

We now live under constant threat of another terrorist attack, visible at airports and major public facilities. And the cost to guard against “a few bearded terrorists” is billions of dollars each year.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to fight “a few bearded terrorists” have taken the lives of over 1,500 American soldiers and seriously wounded thousands more.

I urge you to publicly apologize to every family that has lost a loved one on 9/11 and on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan fighting the global war against terrorism.

To suggest that members of the federal judiciary are somehow in the same class as “a few bearded terrorists” is an assault on the men and women on the federal bench who safeguard our rights under the Constitution everyday.

Not until I heard what you had said would I have ever believed a man of such deep faith could single out our courts, and not terrorists, as America’s Public Enemy Number One. Every family who has lost loved ones at the hands of terrorists deserves nothing less that a full and forthright apology from you.




May 3, 2005

Dr. Bill Frist
Majority Leader
United States Senate
S-230 – U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Frist,

As I am sure you are aware by now, during an appearance on last Sunday’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, the Reverend Pat Robertson commented that federal judges posed a greater threat to our country than “bearded terrorists who fly planes into buildings.”

I have sent a letter to Reverend Robertson calling on him to apologize publicly to the families who lost loved ones on September 11th, as well as to the families of those who have been killed serving their country in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The almost constant assaults on our federal judges by the radical right of the Republican Party has now caused one of its most prominent spokesmen to claim judges, not terrorists, are the number one threat to this country. I hope you will join me in condemning such harmful and heated language and call on Reverend Robertson to publicly apologize to every family who has lost a loved one to terrorism. Your silence on this matter would send a resounding signal to the entire country that the radical right controls the leadership of the Republican Party.



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Dubya's battin' 1,000...

a strike-out in every category... (remember now, this is AFTER last thursday's press conference...)

2005 Apr 29-May 1

Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?

Approve (Disapprove)

48 (49)

Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling:

Foreign affairs 45 (49)
The economy 43 (53)
The situation in Iraq 42 (55)
Social Security 35 (58)
Energy policy 34 (52)
Gas prices 27 (67)

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At least somebody gets it, pt. 2

The Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, wants Senate Democrats to accept a deal that would strip away their role in approving the most important federal judicial nominees. His proposal is an assault on checks and balances, and a power grab. Democrats should not go along.

the vast left-wing conspiracy's media arm has spoken once again... ('bout time, too...!)

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At least somebody gets it

As he moved into the home stretch of his 60-day Social Security road show last week, it became clear that President Bush had saved the worst for last. [...] In the end, the Social Security checks would be minimal - or nonexistent - for millions of Americans.

and that's precisely the plan...

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Petty, punitive and hate-fueled

the fact that something like this is even an issue much less something that's made its way up to the supreme court is sad evidence of what's going on in this country...
The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide whether Congress can constitutionally withhold federal money from universities that show their support for gay rights by restricting access to campuses by military recruiters.

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Monday, May 02, 2005

Aw, Tommy... Sinkin' like a stone...

(from KPRC 2 News Houston)
In general, do you approve or disapprove of the job Tom DeLay is doing as Congressman?

51 percent disapproved
42 percent approved
7 percent were not sure

and this...

DeLay's 'Salute': A Wave Goodbye?
As if things weren't bad enough for Rep. Tom DeLay: Now his friends are planning a tribute in his honor.

Not to be cynical about this, but (oh, what the heck) you know you're in trouble in Washington when this happens.

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Steve Clemons - You ROCK...!

'nuff said...
President Bush made this admirable statement on October 11, 2000:

"I just don't think it's the role of the United States to walk into a country and say, we do it this way, so should you. . .but I think one way for us to end up being viewed as the ugly American is for us to go around the world saying, we do it this way, so should you. . .I think the United States must be humble and must be proud and confident of our values, but humble in how we treat nations that are figuring out how to chart their own course."

Mr. President, where does John Bolton fit into that vision of confident modesty?

The answer is: he doesn't.

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Dr. Dobson's tips for parents

spank that christian spirit of love right into the little bastards...
  • "[P]ain is a marvelous purifier. . . It is not necessary to beat the child into submission; a little bit of pain goes a long way for a young child. However, the spanking should be of sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely."
    - From Dare to Discipline, pages 6 and 7
  • "Some strong-willed children absolutely demand to be spanked, and their wishes should be granted. . . [T]wo or three stinging strokes on the legs or buttocks with a switch are usually sufficient to emphasize the point, 'You must obey me.'"
    - From The Strong-Willed Child, pp. 53-4.
"some strong-willed children absolutely demand to be spanked..." why do i get cold chills when i read that...? oh, yeah, i remember... it was from a convicted rapist... "she was just asking for it..."

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Well, I'll be dipped...

Raising the minimum wage doesn't have to hurt businesses, Albuquerque City Councilor Martin Heinrich says. [...] Heinrich plans to introduce legislation tonight to raise the city's minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.15 an hour. [...] Heinrich says the increase would bring the pay of a single mother with two children from just below the poverty level under current minimum wage laws to just above it.

whaddaya know...! a progressive in the land of enchantment...!

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The secret Downing Street memo (w/update)

at least this has now gotten a congressman's attention, not that that will make much difference given the comatose state of the media and our citizens...


(UPDATE - letter to bush from rep. john conyers)

From: Matthew Rycroft
Date: 23 July 2002
S 195 /02

cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell


Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.


C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.


It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.

(comments from rep. john conyers and his letter to pres. bush follow...)
Unfortunately, the mainstream media in the United States was too busy with wall-to-wall coverage of a "runaway bride" to cover a bombshell report out of the British newspapers. The London Times reports that the British government and the United States government had secretly agreed to attack Iraq in 2002, before authorization was sought for such an attack in Congress, and had discussed creating pretextual justifications for doing so.

May ___, 2005

The Honorable George W. Bush President of the United States of America The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write because of troubling revelations in the Sunday London Times apparently confirming that the United States and Great Britain had secretly agreed to attack Iraq in the summer of 2002, well before the invasion and before you even sought Congressional authority to engage in military action. While various individuals have asserted this to be the case before, including Paul O'Neill, former U.S. Treasury Secretary, and Richard Clarke, a former National Security Council official, they have been previously dismissed by your Administration. However, when this story was divulged last weekend, Prime Minister Blair's representative claimed the document contained "nothing new." If the disclosure is accurate, it raises troubling new questions regarding the legal justifications for the war as well as the integrity of your own Administration.

The Sunday Times obtained a leaked document with the minutes of a secret meeting from highly placed sources inside the British Government. Among other things, the document revealed:

* Prime Minister Tony Blair chaired a July 2002 meeting, at which he discussed military options, having already committed himself to supporting President Bush's plans for invading Iraq.

* British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw acknowledged that the case for war was "thin" as "Saddam was not threatening his neighbours and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran."

* A separate secret briefing for the meeting said that Britain and America had to "create" conditions to justify a war.

* A British official "reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

As a result of this recent disclosure, we would like to know the following:

1) Do you or anyone in your Administration dispute the accuracy of the leaked document?

2) Were arrangements being made, including the recruitment of allies, before you sought Congressional authorization go to war? Did you or anyone in your Administration obtain Britain's commitment to invade prior to this time?

3) Was there an effort to create an ultimatum about weapons inspectors in order to help with the justification for the war as the minutes indicate?

4) At what point in time did you and Prime Minister Blair first agree it was necessary to invade Iraq?

5) Was there a coordinated effort with the U.S. intelligence community and/or British officials to "fix" the intelligence and facts around the policy as the leaked document states?

We have of course known for some time that subsequent to the invasion there have been a variety of varying reasons proffered to justify the invasion, particularly since the time it became evident that weapons of mass destruction would not be found. This leaked document - essentially acknowledged by the Blair government - is the first confirmation that the rationales were shifting well before the invasion as well.

Given the importance of this matter, we would ask that you respond to this inquiry as promptly as possible. Thank you.


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get a mirror... do you see a reflection...? it wasn't only a "mistaken assumption" by politicians, you nimrods...!
Washington is witnessing a happens-all-the-time phenomenon -- the mistaken assumption by politicians that an election won on narrow grounds is a mandate for something broad.

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Social Security - "least generous"

(from the financial times)
US Social Security is one of the least generous public pension systems in advanced countries, providing an employee on average earnings a pension after tax of 51 per cent of pre-retirement income, a comparative study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows.

The average employee in an advanced country can expect a government pension of 70 per cent of his or her after-tax earnings at retirement compared with 39 per cent for an equivalent US citizen.

(more: david sirota offers some thoughtful comments)

There are a lot of reasons for this disparity - but the biggest is clearly that while our government is happy taxing the middle-class, it refuses to adequately tax the wealthy and large corporations, and then claims budget deficits mean we don't have enough money to shore up Social Security. As Citizens for Tax Justice notes, America has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world. The Los Angeles Times reported in 2004 that most U.S. corporations paid absolutely no tax during the 1990s, often using shady tax loopholes to dodge their responsibilities. The U.S. also has one of the lowest income tax rates in the world (and our President recently signaled he's not even interested in making the wealthy pay their fair share). That's quite a distinction: usually an industrialized country has low taxes in one area or the other - not both.

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Sunday, May 01, 2005

Not much of a story in U.S. media... How odd...

The world's nuclear powers are set to face calls to speed up disarmament as a conference on atomic arms control [a review of the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] opens in New York.

On Sunday, thousands of anti-nuclear
protesters marched outside the UN.

(more from the bbc follows)

Many non-nuclear states want to concentrate on the five original nuclear weapon countries, saying that they had failed to carry out their disarmament commitments.

They say they are frustrated with the Bush administration's policies including the rejection of the nuclear test ban treaty, withdrawal from the anti-ballistic missile treaty and the development of new nuclear weapons.


"Achieving nuclear disarmament is not an option, but a legal obligation contained in the NPT," said Mexico's Luis Alfonso de Alba said.

yeah, well, c'mon, alfonso... you KNOW the u.s. doesn't recognize or abide by the same legalities that bind lesser nations...

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Inquiry on Death of Italian agent in Baghdad

here's something else that isn't gonna go away...

(from bellaciao and democracy now)
"They say that they respected all the engagement rules, and that is not true, because I was there and I can testify that they just shoot us without any advertising, any intention, any attempt to stop us before.


No light, no air fire, nothing at all. They were beside the road. They were not on the street. They were away ten meters, and they didn’t give us any sign that they were there, so we didn’t saw them before they started to shoot." - GIULIANA SGRENA

(from the bbc)
The official Italian report on the incident expected to be published this week will accuse the American military of tampering with evidence at the scene of the shooting.

The Americans invited two Italians to join in their inquiry, but the Italian representatives protested at what they claimed was lack of objectivity in presenting the evidence and returned to Rome.

Relations between Rome and Washington remain tense.

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Let's be honest here, shall we...?

(yglesias is guest-blogging on talking points memo...)
Right now, the debate [Social Security] is about phase out pure and simple. Bush, and the [Washington] Post, are for it. Democrats are against it.
-- Matthew Yglesias

and, if ya really wanna get down to it, it's about rolling back everything progressive and good that's happened in this country since before fdr and the depression...

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"Twaddle...!" I love it...!

(thx to armando at kos)

Warren Buffett, the 74-year-old chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, and his 81-year-old partner, Charlie Munger, launched an impassioned defense of Social Security at the company's annual meeting Saturday, with Munger terming Republican efforts to overhaul the program "twaddle."


Munger, who called himself a "right-wing Republican," said, "Republicans are out of their cotton-picking minds to be taking on this issue now. "Munger cited nuclear tensions with North Korea and Iran as issues the administration should be working on instead of "wasting its good will over some twaddle."

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And just what outside "interest groups" would those be, Mr. Brooks...?

david 'i-wouldn't-know-shit-if-i-was-up-to-my-eyeballs-in-it' brooks on the nuclear option...
Right now, most senators want to avoid a meltdown. It's the outside interest groups that are goading them into the fight.

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You DO? Really? And they said, "Cut the benefits?"

"I know some rich people, and if you ask them whether they would rather have a tax increase or their benefits cut, they'll immediately say, 'Cut the benefits,' " said Representative Bill Thomas of California, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

i am mightily impressed, bill, at how closely in touch you are with your constituents...

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Would you mind repeating that question...?

At a news conference last month, President Bush was asked what Uzbekistan COULD do in interrogating a suspect that the United States could not. [bold and caps mine]

"We seek assurances that nobody will be tortured when we render a person back to their home country," Mr. Bush said.

here's what uzbekistan CAN do in interrogating a suspect...

(read on - not pretty)

U.S. Recruits a Rough Ally to Be a Jailer

In the summer of 2002, Amnesty International reported, Fatima Mukhadirova, a 62-year-old Tashkent shopkeeper, was sentenced to six years of hard labor after denouncing the government for the death of her son, Muzafar Avozov, in a Tashkent prison.

An independent examination of photographs of the body, conducted by the University of Glasgow, showed that Mr. Avozov died after being immersed in boiling water, human rights groups reported. The examination said his head had been beaten and his fingernails removed.


General Myers said the United States had "benefited greatly from our partnership and strategic relationship with Uzbekistan."

ya gotta love them benefits...

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All the news that fits, we print... Like only 1/2 of a profile

in Never Shy, Bolton Brings a Zeal to the Table, scott shane pulls a typical "nyt" - he wusses out...

if anybody ever presented the perfect opportunity to write an in-depth, objective profile, it's john bolton... bolton has more twists and turns, nooks and crannies and bottomless black holes than carlsbad caverns... but, n-o-o-o-o-0... what does scotty do instead...? he trots out this litany...

"[I]t makes sense to put somebody who's skilled and who's not afraid to speak his mind at the United Nations." [George Bush]

"When you go in to brief John Bolton, as I found out early, you better be prepared," said Thomas M. Boyd.

He has also impressed superiors with his dogged pursuit of goals he believes in. [...] He took on the task of repealing a United Nations General Assembly resolution equating Zionism with racism, long resented by Israel and its American supporters.

Mr. Bolton, 56, has won loyalty from other bosses, too. They include former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, whom he served at the White House and the State Department and who summoned him to Florida for the recount, and Vice President Dick Cheney.

"He's tough and he's relentless and he's very logical," said Frank J. Donatelli. [...] "But I've never observed any kind of abusive behavior." What really puts off Mr. Bolton's critics, Mr. Donatelli said, are his firm views.

In handling disagreements, too, Ms. Bohlen said, Mr. Bolton sometimes went over the line. [italics mine]

"He's got a great sense of humor, a great cackle of a laugh - but he has to trust you."

"He's a straightforward, traditional, national security conservative."

"But basically, American diplomats should be advocates of the United States. That's the style I pursue." [John Bolton]

if i hadn't been mucking around in all of the details of mr. bolton's career that have emerged from the foreign relations committee hearings and was relying on this profile to form my opinion, i would probably walk away thinking, "ok, he's tough and traditionally conservative and, even though i don't agree with his views, i can understand why bush would think he's a good nominee..." i simply cannot believe all the stuff that was just plain omitted...

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Shoot first, ask questions later...

[I]n Florida under a measure passed overwhelmingly by the state legislature last week, you ... no longer have a duty to escape or retreat before resorting to the use of deadly force.

very progressive legislation - IF you're nostalgic for the late 1800's...

(note: see post, "very sick stuff," below...)

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