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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 03/26/2006 - 04/02/2006
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- Noam Chomsky
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, April 01, 2006

God bless Mexico...!

i have visited mexico countless times and even lived there for a while and it is a very special place for me... so, in honor of mexico, here is their flag...


Michael Savage repeatedly called on his listeners to "burn the Mexican flag" in opposition to illegal immigrants. Savage claimed that the only way to combat the onslaught of illegal immigrants is through protest and asked his audience to "[b]urn a Mexican flag for America, burn a Mexican flag for those who died that you should have a nationality and a sovereignty, go out in the street and show you're a man, burn 10 Mexican flags, if I could recommend it. Put one in the window upside down and tell them to go back where they came from!"



(thanks to think progress and media matters...)

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Using bankruptcy as a business strategy and as a way to kill organized labor

particularly under the bush administration, what's the latest, hottest management gimmick among senior corporate managers to dramatically cut costs, slash the number of employees, eviscerate health care plans, and rid yourself of those pesky unions and their annoying contracts - all legally of course...? just ask united, delta, northwest, u.s. airways, and, now, delphi...
Delphi Corp. yesterday asked a federal bankruptcy court judge to void its union contracts, which paves the way for lower wages and benefits for Delphi workers and increases the chance of a strike at the auto-parts giant.

At the same time, labor scholars said, Delphi's use of the bankruptcy court to attempt wage cuts further erodes the power of organized labor.

and, just like at united and all the rest, there will be no ebb in the flow of major big bucks into the corporate officers' pockets...

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Ambassador Khalilzad is "a sectarian who favors the Sunnis" and needs to go

as you read this, keep in mind how the u.s. media is deliberately making the situation in iraq out to be much worse than it is... ya, right...
Ayatollah Muhammad Ya`qubi is the spiritual guide for the Virtue (Fadhila) Party, which has 15 seats in the federal parliament and controls the provincial council of Basra. He described Khalilzad as "a sectarian who favors the Sunnis" and said that his statements "lack amity and objectivity." He called on the Bush administration not to submit to the terrorists nor to fall into the snares of the sectarians and haters. He said that if the administration "wants to protect itself from failure and collapse, it must change its ambassador in Iraq."

[...]

Yaqubi said, "American administration figures have denied the existence of a sectarian war in Iraq. They are either misguided by statements lacking in objectivity and truthfulness sent back by the sectarian American ambassador in Iraq and his like, or they are deliberately denying this reality for more than one reason."

thank goodness we have someone like juan cole* who can monitor the iraqi press and give us a perspective that our own media who, even though they may be trying to present a clear picture of iraq, either can't won't provide under the withering assaults of bushco...

these people are no idiots... they see what's going on around them and have spelled it out quite well...

When Ya`qubi's follower, a preacher at the Rahman mosque in Baghdad, read out these phrases, the congregation erupted with shouts of "God is Most Great!"

He said there were several possible reasons for which the Bush administration might want to deny the obvious outbreak of sectarian warfare in Iraq:

1. They don't want to admit their failure in Iraq for fear of damaging the reputation of the United States, and want to convince themselves and others that they have succeeded in protecting Iraqi citizens from tyranny, oppression, killing and expropriation, and have founded a true democracy in Iraq.

2. They are buying time in hopes of implementing their plans for sidelining the Shiite majority

3. Recognizing the true situation would force them to attempt to resolve it, which they do not want to do or are unable to do.

He said he could not understand how the Americans explain the dozens of innocents that show up dead every day in the streets and markets and elsewhere, for no other reason than that they are Shiites, if they are not victims of a sectarian war. How else to explain the destruction of holy shrines and the killing of pilgrims? How else to explain the mass expulsions of populations, affecting thousands of families, who have been threatened with death. If this massive displacement of people was going on anywhere else in the world, he said, it would be widely decried. But Shiites in Iraq getting kicked out of their homes in the thousands? Silence. He claimed that the number of persons killed in Iraq exceeds all the deaths in the Lebanese Civil War 1975-1989 (if he is taking the 100,000 figure suggested in Lancet, he is correct). If this is not a civil war, he asked, what is?

* Juan Cole Receives Aronson Award from Hunter College

The James Aronson Award is presented annually to journalism that measures business, governmental and social affairs against clear ideals of the common good. Of particular interest is work examining persistent, systemic social problems. Winning stories might scrutinize discrimination, economic injustice, civil liberties, free expression, particularly as these issues are complicated in an era of globalization and terrorism.

The first Aronson Award for blogging is going to University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole for his Iraq War-related "Informed Comment" blog.

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Friday, March 31, 2006

The U.S. media is mentally unbalanced and may be exhibiting "Stockholm syndrome"

i am totally ashamed of what passes for a "free press" in my own country... perhaps, after six years of bush holding them hostage, the media would do well to consider whether they might not be victims of "stockholm syndrome*..."

two glaring cases in point (not that there aren't literally TONS more)...

first, as if the paltry to non-existent coverage of the dems national security plan isn't bad enough...

Reporters and news analysts have "repeatedly commented on the Democratic Party's purported lack of a clear plan or concrete set of alternatives on issues ranging from Social Security to the war in Iraq." Yet, after a broad alternative national security strategy was announced Wednesday, the media's interest in such plans seemed to vanish. According to Media Matters, CNN "largely ignored the news," devoting "an hour and a half of uninterrupted coverage to a speech by President Bush on Iraq, his third in two weeks," compared to two minutes for the plan introduced by House and Senate Minority Leaders Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Harry Reid (D-NV). The New York Times failed to include a single story on the strategy, despite printing quotes attacking the document on Tuesday before it was released. Neither the USA Today nor the Los Angeles Times ran news reports on it yesterday either.

but the treatment of jill carroll is beyond comprehension...
  • Also shortly after Carroll's release, National Review's John Podhoretz said that "after watching someone who was a hostage for three months say on television she was well-treated because she wasn’t beaten or killed -- while being dressed in the garb of a modest Muslim woman rather than the non-Muslim woman she actually is -- I expect there will be some Stockholm Syndrome talk in the coming days." [...] His colleague Jonah Goldberg, who was recently given a regular column in the LA Times, backed him up, saying "maybe [Podhoretz is] right about Stockholm syndrome." Goldberg added that Carroll "is increasingly starting to bug me," and concluded, "I'm very glad she's alive, but I'm getting a very bad vibe."
i am, literally, speechless...

(thanks to american progress...)
* The Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response sometimes seen in a hostage, in which the hostage exhibits seeming loyalty to the hostage-taker, in spite of the danger (or at least risk) the hostage has been put in.

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SPECIAL Podcast: Opening Statement by Senator Feingold before the Judiciary Committee

Listen to a reading of Senator Russ Feingold's opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing On the Call to Censure the President, Friday, March 31, 2006, a special And, yes, I DO take it personally podcast...

**click here for MP3 download**

(thanks to raw story for the transcript...)

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Tom Tancredo is the south end of a horse headed north

i hate to beat around the bush like this, but tom tancredo is a fool, a bigot, a racist, an opportunist and a perfect composite of some of the worst traits to be found in america... how in hell someone like this could be elected to the u.s. congress is completely beyond me...
Tancredo, 60, has so effectively tapped into the anger of millions of Americans who favor a crackdown on illegal immigrants and tougher measures at the border that the back-bench Republican is considering making a bid for president in two years. But in Washington, he is viewed warily by Democrats, the White House and even some of his Republican colleagues as a loose cannon or even a zealot.

and there ya have it - anger, outrage, ethnophobia... all the basest instincts of humanity...
For many frustrated, scared and angry suburbanites and small-town residents, Tancredo is a hero, one of the very few Washington politicians who take their fears seriously. They believe undocumented, mostly Hispanic workers are taking jobs that ought to go to citizens, flooding schools and boosting the crime rate, and that the country's open borders pose a security threat.

yeah, right... let's keep stirring up the anger and fear... the more time we spend on anger and fear, the less likely we are to focus on the crimes being committed by the folks in the white house...

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Hooray for Molly Ivins...! Once again, she tells it like it is, this time on immigration...

you bet, molly... let's strip away the layers and layers of total b.s. and look at reality... i realize that's a heretical notion these days but, every once in a while, it's fun to look at things in the clear light of day...
[S]hould you actually want to stop Mexicans and OTMs (other than Mexicans) from coming to the United States, here is how to do it: Find an illegal worker at a large corporation. This is not difficult -- brooms and mops are big tip-offs. Then put the CEO of that corporation in prison for two or more years for violating the law against hiring illegal workers.

[...]

But Business likes illegal workers. The Chamber of Commerce lobbies for them. They're lobbying now for a new bracero program. What a bonanza for Bidness.

[...]

Racists seem obsessed by the idea that illegal workers -- the hardest-working, poorest people in America -- are somehow getting away with something, sneaking goodies that should be for Americans.

[...]

The border is porous. When you want cheap labor, you open it up; when you don't, you shut it down. It works to our benefit -- it always has.

it's such a baldly manipulative tactic and so typical of bushco, appealing to the basest instincts of ethnophobic whites... don't trust them brown-skinned folks, be they ay-rabs, mex's or any of them other funny-lookin', funny-soundin', lyin', cheatin', murderin' weasels that just want to overrun our precious country and take away what's rightfully ours... but the really hysterical thing about this whole issue is that bushco has placed itself squarely between a rock and a hard place... you can't stop the flow of immigrants, be they legal or illegal, AND satisfy your big-bidness cronies at the same time... hey, would you mind passing the popcorn...?

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

My man, Murray Waas

it's long, it's thorough, and it's thoroughly damning...
PREWAR INTELLIGENCE
Insulating Bush


By Murray Waas, National Journal
© National Journal Group Inc.
Thursday, March 30, 2006

Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush's 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had lied about going to war been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration. Rove expressed his concerns shortly after an informal review of classified government records by then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley determined that Bush had been specifically advised that claims he later made in his 2003 State of the Union address -- that Iraq was procuring high-strength aluminum tubes to build a nuclear weapon -- might not be true, according to government records and interviews.

let me rephrase the question... here we have a severely overloaded camel... where is the goddam straw...?

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The Economist takes a look at outrage in America

it's always interesting to read perceptions of the u.s. from those living in other countries... now, some might argue over my characterization of the uk as "another country" but, so be it...


The most striking thing about Americans to many outsiders is how nice they are. They have none of the aloofness of the British or the froideur of the French. On the contrary, they go out of their way to be warm and welcoming. This is the land of the smiley face and the “have a nice day” greeting. Put simply, Americans like to be liked.

Yet turn on cable television and you are confronted with a series of people who are in a perpetual state of outrage. They are incensed (if they're on the left) that Barbara Bush has stipulated that her Hurricane Katrina donation should be used to buy software from a firm owned by one of her sons; furious (if they're on the right) that Hillary Clinton has invoked Jesus's name in decrying Republican immigration policies; and pig-wrestling mad (and here outrage goes bipartisan) that Yale University has admitted a former spokesman for the Taliban.

The current king of outrage is Bill O'Reilly, the host of a Fox television show who only has to look at the camera to convey a sense that some monstrosity has been committed. But there are plenty of others. Sean Hannity (also at Fox) and Joe Scarborough (at MSNBC) are furious about whatever the Democrats have done that day. Over at CNN, Lou Dobbs, under the guise of presenting a news programme, bashes the government for failing to fix America's borders, and big companies for exporting jobs abroad. The oddest of the lot is Don Imus (also at MSNBC) who sits there with a cowboy hat on his head and a scowl on his face, fulminating about whatever irritates him at that moment.

it's a reasonably "balanced" article and, given the connotation of "balanced" these days, i'm not sure that's a compliment... the one part of the article that i consider dead wrong is this...
For instance, angry people are usually among the most politically active everywhere, but in America a combination of low voter turnout and gerrymandering has allowed radicals to capture both the main parties.

i don't know how the hell they can say that... please, show me the "radicals" that have captured the democratic party...

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It's a blue world, after all...

it's a blue world, after all...
it's a blue world, after all...
it's a blue, blue world...




let's face it... when texas, idaho, arizona, kansas, missouri, the dakotas, arkansas, mississippi, louisiana, florida, tennessee, west virginia and ohio start turning blue, i would say, george, you've got a problem...

now, if only polls and approval ratings had the power to get those bastards out of the white house, i'd be dancing a jig right now... as it is, i'll just have to be content to hum a little tune under my breath...


(thanks to dreaminonempty at daily kos...

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I'm not into promoting books or anything else for that matter

but the new book, "Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics" by Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the guys behind daily kos and mydd, is making a big and well-deserved splash... alternet offers an excerpt with some fascinating insights into the 1998 senatorial campaign of russ feingold that clearly illustrate why the democrats have been so effective at shooting themselves in the foot... check it out...

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United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has a message for you



and, just to make sure you didn't misinterpret the gesture, he would like to spell it out...
[Peter Smith, the Boston University assistant photojournalism professor] was working as a freelance photographer for the Boston archdiocese’s weekly newspaper at a special Mass for lawyers Sunday when a Herald reporter asked the justice how he responds to critics who might question his impartiality as a judge given his public worship.

“The judge paused for a second, then looked directly into my lens and said, ‘To my critics, I say, ‘Vaffanculo,’ ” punctuating the comment by flicking his right hand out from under his chin, Smith said.

The Italian phrase means “(expletive) you.”

interestingly enough, it's the identical message that our president would like to pass along...



it's good to know that both these outstanding public servants have such a firm grasp of the gravity of their respective offices...


(thanks to dmsilev at daily kos...)

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Why You Hittin' Yourself?

Dear Prof. Marcus: True. True. Bush is a funny one. A grumpy little shit. When you were a kid, did you ever run into the type of bully that would grab your arm and start using it as a cudgel against you while saying something like: "Why you hittin' yourself? Huh? Why you hittin' yourself?" I feel like that kid gettin' hit, Prof. It was Saddam's fault, Prof! No, no... I got one... It was the Democrats! If it wasn't for Carter leaving Iran in the early 70s, and us having to back both Iran and Iraq in their Million Kill war during the flashy 80s, when Rumsfeld, the rat, shook Maddass's hand himself (though from the picture they didn't look to be on friendly terms), there would have been none of this "US Going In To Save The Day" malarky and we could have just shaken hands like gentlemen. It's all about the Oil Business anyway, everyone knows that. Big Business. If if wasn't for Carter, we could have been partners instead of enemies in the Oil Trade. Just a thought, Prof.

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Hey...! Don't blame US...! Blame Saddam...!

the latest spin on the iraq disaster... unbelievable...
President Bush said Wednesday that Saddam Hussein, not continued U.S. involvement in Iraq, is responsible for ongoing sectarian violence that is threatening the formation of a democratic government.

In his third speech this month to bolster public support for the war, Bush worked to counter critics who say the U.S. presence in the wartorn nation is fueling the insurgency.

Bush said that Saddam was a tyrant and used violence to exacerbate sectarian divisions to keep himself in power, and that as a result, deep tensions persist to this day.

look, you mindless, walking, talking sack of shit... there's no doubt whatsoever that saddam had the lid on the iraq pressure cooker screwed down tight, but guess who waltzed in and blew it off without a hint of a plan to deal with the ghastly consequences...? george bush, you and yours disgust me beyond words... go back to crawford... clear brush... whatever... just stay the hell off of my computer and my tv screen with your pathetic excuses for abject failure... i don't wanna hear it... i don't want to hear any of it...

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The "REAL WAR" on Christianity

you wanna talk about war...? you wanna talk about rejecting jesus christ and his message...? you wanna talk about christians being persecuted...? where is the f*****g american family association on this one...? huh...? HUH...? if they REALLY BELIEVED christ's message, they would be out there screaming about how love, tolerance, understanding, acceptance and brotherhood don't seem to "fit" with television network policies... will we hear from 'em...? hell, no...
The nation's major television networks have rejected an ad [a 30-second commercial for the United Church of Christ] that shows a gay couple and others being banished from a church, saying it violates their rules against controversial or religious advertising.

[...]

Text on the screen reads, "God doesn't reject people. Neither do we," and a voiceover says, "The United Church of Christ. No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you're welcome here."

The church tried to run a similar ad in December 2004 in which bouncers outside a church stopped gay couples, racial minorities and others from entering. The networks also rejected that ad.

god bless the ucc for being true to the real christian message...

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Mexican immigrants to the U.S., legal or illegal, work their asses off

this pisses me off...
On the March 27 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh stated that Mexican immigrants who illegally enter the United States are "a renegade, potential[ly] criminal element" that is "unwilling to work."

the man is a moron...

i have had the pleasure of knowing a number of mexican immigrants, both legal and illegal, and i can tell you, the reason they COME to the u.s. is TO WORK... they simply want to earn the kind of money it would be impossible for them to earn in mexico and, typically, the first thing they do when they get here is get a job... and work they do, hard, nasty, often demeaning and dangerous work for which they get paid considerably less than their anglo counterparts... but, even then, it is so much more money than they have ever earned before that they're not only grateful, they save in order to be able to send some to the folks back home...

what with the cigars, the alcohol, and the drugs, i think rush's brain may just be on a permanent vacation...

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The bullshit "War on Christianity"

yeah, ok, i'm on the warpath with the wapo this morning... this front section, page a12, story doesn't deserve either printer's ink or bandwidth... the "war on christianity" is both bullshit and bogus and, were it not for the fact that bushco and its minions have so aligned themselves with extremist religious radicals, probably wouldn't even merit the wapo's attention... but the wapo knows who its daddy is and so feels compelled to lend legitimacy to this crap...
This week, radio commentator Rick Scarborough convened a two-day conference in Washington on the "War on Christians and the Values Voters in 2006." The opening session was devoted to "reports from the frontlines" on "persecution" of Christians in the United States and Canada, including an artist whose paintings were barred from a municipal art show in Deltona, Fla., because they contained religious themes.

at least the wapo had the presence of mind to use quotation marks and to include at least a couple voices of reason...
  • "Certainly religious persecution existed in our history, but to claim that these examples amount to religious persecution disrespects the experiences of people who have been jailed and died because of their faith," said K. Hollyn Hollman, general counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.
  • "This is a skirmish over religious pluralism, and the inclination to see it as a war against Christianity strikes me as a spoiled-brat response by Christians who have always enjoyed the privileges of a majority position," said the Rev. Robert M. Franklin, a minister in the Church of God in Christ and professor of social ethics at Emory University.
and, no, the article doesn't bother to mention that tommy-boy delay was in attendance...

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WaPo's VandeHei pandering to Bush - yet again

Card's Departure Seen as a Sign President Hears Words of Critics

By Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 29, 2006; Page A01

A few weeks ago, President Bush's spokesman dismissed talk of an impending staff change as "inside Washington babble."

White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr.'s resignation yesterday suggests that Bush was listening.

it does nothing of the sort... what it DOES suggest is that rove is sufficiently concerned that he decreed it was important to give the APPEARANCE of listening and the APPEARANCE of taking action while, in fact, making no substantive changes whatsoever... even the wapo's own editorial acknowledges the cosmetic nature of the deal...
Other personnel changes may follow, but the lesson of this one is that Mr. Bush sees no need for new thinking.

the consensus of comments on card's resignation is that card was among the most passive of bush's unholy circle and therefore the easiest to publicly dismiss... the circle of those with the real power remains intact... yet vandehei goes on (and on and on and on) prattling about how presidents sometimes need to make concessions to washington insiders and to the court of public opinion... he talks about how bush's collapsing support drove card's exit, etc., etc., but nowhere even mentions the possibility that it's just one more disgusting page out of the karl rove playbook, designed to pull the wool over the eyes of one and all - including jim vandehei... bush ain't listening unless it's karl talking...

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"The United States won the Cold War, but the Russian bear is now eating our lunch in terms of world competition."

(thanks to s in macedonia...)

dan simpson in the pittsburgh post-gazette shares a perspective that doesn't seem to be getting much visibility in our bushco-strangled media...
  • Russian intelligence, working from information it claimed to have gained from U.S. defense sources, passed U.S. military plans to Saddam Hussein's military forces in Baghdad.
  • Russia has also through skillful diplomacy dealt itself into the pivotal role in the Iran nuclear issue.
  • With the United States refusing to talk with Hamas, and pushing the Western Europeans to pursue an equally shortsighted approach, the Russians moved fast and invited Hamas's leaders to Moscow and made a big fuss of them.
  • Other recent Russian successes include the new gas pipeline deal that Mr. Putin concluded with Chinese President Hu Jintao during his visit this month to China.
  • The United States for many years monitored Soviet and Russian military activities from Iceland, strategically located in the North Atlantic in terms of both anti-submarine warfare and tracking of Russian war planes. This month the Pentagon announced that the United States was withdrawing all U.S. forces from Iceland after more than six decades there, a move presumably dictated by resource issues, those almost certainly driven by the demands of the Iraq war.
  • Mr. Putin is now poised to cap his various political gains of recent months by hosting a highly visible G8 summit in St. Petersburg in July.
  • The United States is currently weakened in its dealings with Russia by the drains of the Iraq war; a chronic budget deficit; no effective energy policy; and a growing, unfavorable balance of trade.
a sorry chronicle like the above easily prompts more charges of bushco incompetence... as bizarre as it might sound, i stand by my view that a major goal of the criminals in the white house is to engender world chaos and instability... if so, they are absolutely on the right track...

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Who's gonna get Fitz'd next...? Rove...? Hadley...? Both...?

oh, gawd, wouldn't either one be LOVERLY...? i might just have to break open my special bottle of palavas greek ouzo to celebrate...
[T]he second part of the federal investigation into the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson is nearly complete, with attorneys and government officials who have remained close to the probe saying that a grand jury will likely return an indictment against one or two senior Bush administration officials.

These sources work or worked at the State Department, the CIA and the National Security Council. Some of these sources are attorneys close to the case. They requested anonymity because they were not permitted to speak publicly about the details of the investigation.

In lengthy interviews over the weekend and on Monday, they said that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has started to prepare the paperwork to present to the grand jury seeking an indictment against White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove or National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.

Although the situation remains fluid, it's possible, these sources said, that Fitzgerald may seek to indict both Rove and Hadley, charging them with perjury, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy related to their roles in the leak of Plame Wilson's identity and their effort to cover up their involvement following a Justice Department investigation.

i'm positively TINGLING all over...! and, yeah, i know how foolish it is to get my hopes up, particularly given how many times i've had them dashed before... but still, even thinking about this criminal gang facing the consequences of their actions is balm for my tortured soul...

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Dear Tennessee State Representative Maggart:

please don't take this the wrong way because i only mean it in the most constructive way possible... if and when you have the time but, if possible, within the next day or two, would you mind STICKING IT WHERE THE SUN DOESN'T SHINE...?
Rep. Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville, said she still believes homosexual couples should not be allowed to adopt children. In fact, in addition to e-mail correspondence with a master’s student at Vanderbilt publicized recently, in which she said as much, she has also said homosexual couples may molest the children they adopt.

"We also have seen evidence that homosexual couples prey on young males and have, in some instances, adopted them in order to have unfretted access to subject them to a life of molestation and sexual abuse," she said.

“In all cases to paint with a broad brush strokes is unfortunate,” said adoptive parent Dr. Christopher Harris.

Harris is a pediatrician by day and a single gay adoptive parent by night.

“She brings such joy into my life,” he said. “It's always said pediatrician doesn’t finished his training till he or she has a kid.”

Harris fits every requirement for the state's definition of a good adoptive parent: loving, healthy and financially stable. He is also gay, and for Maggert, that means he's unqualified.

yet another elected official with her head firmly planted up her ass...

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SSDD: presidential receptivity, openness and candor - or not

the man is worried - as well he should be...
As he defends his Iraq policy with a public campaign of speeches and a recent news conference, President Bush also has been waging a private campaign that has included off-the-record sessions with White House reporters, sources said yesterday.

One gathering, which took place Thursday in the White House residence, was an unusual gesture by Bush, who has agreed to comparatively few lengthy exchanges with reporters during his five years in office. Bush has said publicly that he needs to convince Americans that the U.S. mission in Iraq is on a path to victory, despite what he called a news media focus on daily violence.

sounds good, right...? wrong... it's the ol' ssdd (same shit, different day)...
Under the off-the-record ground rules, the journalists were barred from reporting what was discussed. White House officials said they also hoped the meetings' mere existence would remain under wraps. That proved impossible when journalists from The Post who were not participants in the session, as well as those at other publications, learned of the meetings from sources outside the paper and began to report on them.

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Cosmetic surgery: one down and a LOT more to go

imho, card's departure is strictly cosmetic, designed to offer the appearance of change without making any fundamental change... the ones who should really be the ones to go are still around... maybe there are more changes in the offing but color me highly skeptical...
President Bush announced the resignation of White House chief of staff Andy Card on Wednesday and replaced him with budget director Joshua Bolten, saying "the next three years will demand much of those who serve our country."

[...]

The move comes as Bush has been buffeted by increasing criticism of the drawn-out war in Iraq and as fellow Republicans have suggested pointedly that the president bring in new aides with fresh ideas and new energy.

Card came to Bush recently and suggested that he should step down from the job that he has held from the first day of Bush's presidency, said the administration official.

Bush decided during a weekend stay at Camp David, Md., to accept Card's resignation and to name Bolten as his replacement, said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to pre-empt the president.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

More on the latest memo from Robert Parry

he's talking war crimes...
In a world where might did not make right, George W. Bush, Tony Blair and their key enablers would be in shackles before a war crimes tribunal at the Hague, rather than sitting in the White House, 10 Downing Street or some other comfortable environs in Washington and London.

[...]

Beyond more proof that Bush has lied consistently about Iraq, the Jan. 31, 2003, memo represents striking evidence that Bush, Blair and their top assistants violated the Nuremberg Principles and the U.N. Charter by launching an aggressive war against Iraq.

While many Americans think of the Nuremberg trials after World War II as just holding Nazi leaders accountable for genocide, a major charge against Adolf Hitler’s henchmen was the crime of aggressive war. Later, that principle was embodied in the United Nations Charter, forbidding armed aggression by one state against another.

[...]

The British memos, combined with public statements by Bush and his senior aides, represent a prima-facie case that Bush, Blair and others violated the Nuremberg Principles and the U.N. Charter, to which the United States was a founding signatory.

parry goes on to point out a staggering revelation by condi this past weekend that has gone virtually unnoticed in the media...
“If you really believe that the only thing that happened on 9/11 was people flew airplanes into buildings, I think you have a very narrow view of what we faced on 9/11,” Rice said. “We faced the outcome of an ideology of hatred throughout the Middle East that had to be dealt with. Saddam Hussein was a part of that old Middle East. The new Iraq will be a part of the new Middle East, and we will all be safer.”

Rice’s argument – that Bush has the right to invade any country that he feels is part of a culture that might show hostility toward the United States – represents the most expansive justification to date for launching the Iraq War.

It goes well beyond waging “preemptive” or even “predictive” war. Rice is asserting a U.S. right to inflict death and destruction on Muslim countries as part of a social-engineering experiment to eradicate their perceived cultural and political tendencies toward hatred.

yep, the u.s. is in the hands of criminals, no doubt about it... but, since the u.s. doesn't recognize the international criminal court in the hague, i guess george and tony will continue to enjoy the emoluments of unfettered power...

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More from PIPA

In this representative Democracy, the Republic, one of the major presumptions, at least as it is presented in public schools and pumped out through the mainstreammedia, for the efficacy of our particular form of government is that those chosen, the representatives, who are obliged to reflect the general wishes of their constituents, do so. Therefore polls should be a highly maintained and publicized “metric”, (a term the Pentagon often uses to refer to accurate research) broadly monitored by a public eager to participate and compare results with the actual voting records of their representatives. Certainly polls are parsed and tendentious, yielding to the slight hand which their surveyor places upon them. But it would seem that if enough of them were conducted, if the pool were broad and deep, if the methods were explained as simplistically as possible and more importantly, if a copy of the questions asked were easily available, statistically, polls should accurately reflect an overall picture of the general will on issues that it cares about and their results should be generally understood. Why would this be important? Ummm…because the public wants Deomcracy! If you are inclined to agree with people like Donald Rumsfeld that “Populism” is only for peasants in Venezuela, well, good for you. Some people, (as Bush likes to call his opponents, who also happen to be a majority of the population of the U.S. and the world right now) believe that “Populism” refers to an inclusive, egalitarian form of government that responds to the needs of its constituents. And just what are those needs and desires? Here we have more from PIPA, (Program on International Policy Attitudes) from the University of Maryland….
A very strong majority of the US public embraces the idea that global warming is a real and serious problem even though only a slight majority perceives that there is a consensus in the scientific community on this question. The majority endorsing action divides on whether the problem is pressing and should include steps with significant costs or whether the problem can be dealt with more gradually through low-cost steps. However, when asked to assume that there is a scientific consensus on the reality of global warming, support for taking high cost steps increases to a majority. A majority rejects the argument that taking action is too economically onerous and is optimistic that in the long run reducing greenhouse gas emissions will actually benefit the economy by increasing efficiency. In a multilateral context support for taking action becomes overwhelming with very large majorities wanting to do as much as other developed countries to reduce emissions. Awareness of global warming is quite high.

And…
A strong majority of Americans favors the US abiding by and ratifying the Kyoto Treaty even when presented with the key arguments for and against the treaty. Only a minority is aware that President Bush opposes participation in the Kyoto Treaty. When respondents are told that that President Bush has decided to not abide by the Treaty approximately half oppose the decision while a fairly small minority supports it. A strong majority opposes his decision to not pursue reductions of carbon dioxide emissions and thinks he should propose develop some plan for reducing emissions. When the Kyoto Treaty was being negotiated in 1998 a strong majority supported the level of emissions cuts proposed, even when informed that the US had originally sought less-deep cuts, and a plurality leaned toward deeper cuts.

And…
By a wide margin, most Americans believe they are more supportive of taking steps to reduce global warming than the average American. Thus it appears the public underestimates the public's support for taking such steps.

But how could this be? The old divide and conquer method alive and well? Who benefits by having an uninformed public, unaware of what their neighbors think about vital issues? Who benefits by having a society afraid to discuss among itself, the important matters of politics, of morality? You got two choices, the dueling factions: Republicons and Democrats. And if you think that a few more elected Democrats would move in unison to dilute the overarching influence of the Executive, you really are a true believer. They will only posture themselves (2006 elections) like the warlords they have proven to be, maybe with a hint that after (2008 elections) things will start to change. We need a new party, plain and simple, the Populists!

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That Bush had decided to invade Iraq no matter what is hardly news

The January 2003 memo is the latest in a series of secret memos produced by top aides to Mr. Blair that summarize private discussions between the president and the prime minister.

yeah, it's nice that what we have known for many, many months has now been further confirmed by her gray eminence, the nyt, but, at this point, it's a yawner... with the evidence of flat-out lies already overwhelming and the polls showing that a vast majority of the american people have snapped to the fact that we've been deliberately lied to, tell me why bush's ship of state is still sailing merrily along...
During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, [Bush] made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second [UN] resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons.

even the most shocking part of the memo is old news...
The memo also shows that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq. Faced with the possibility of not finding any before the planned invasion, Mr. Bush talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation, including a proposal to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire, or assassinating Mr. Hussein. Those proposals were first reported last month in the British press . . .

let me repeat my oft-asked question... just what the hell is it gonna take to get these criminals out of office...?

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Now, elected Democrats, standing up for your principles is not that hard once you get used to it.

russ baker makes some good points but i'm not going to hold my breath...
Only a conscienceless bully - like the one dissected in the movie “Good Night, and Good Luck,” about Edward R. Murrow’s television crusade against McCarthy’s serial abuse of the public trust - could have come up with the disgustingly misleading radio ads now attacking Sen. Russ Feingold. And only the chickenhearted - or those henpecked by consultants - would fail to back up this courageous figure.

On Wednesday, taking its cues from remarks by President George W. Bush, the GOP launched radio ads against Sen. Feingold in his home state of Wisconsin, with these words: "President Bush is working to keep American families safe…But some Democrats are working against these efforts to secure our country…Their leader is Russ Feingold.”

The ad criticizes Feingold for his censure resolution against the president, but in a classic trick, fails to tell listeners what the censure is about. They will not know that Feingold is upset by Bush’s unauthorized wiretapping. Instead, here’s what the ads claim:
Now Feingold and other Democrats want to censure the president, publicly reprimanding President Bush for pursuing suspected members of Al Qaeda.

[...]

The Democrats need some backbone. That they lack one is evident because they will not even show boldness when the American people already get it. An American Research Group poll revealed last week that an astonishing 48 percent of American voters support Feingold's call for a Senate censure of President Bush and just 43 percent oppose it. Even a sizable chunk of Republicans (nearly one-third) favor censure while nearly a fifth of GOP supporters back impeachment.

It is no small thing that it took William Kristol, the conservative pundit and editor of The Weekly Standard , to intone (on Fox News Sunday, no less) that Feingold “is smarter than the Democratic congressional leadership” and “deserves credit for taking a principled stand.” Kristol, who presumably isn’t signing up for the Feingold-for-president campaign, nevertheless declared that the senator “is making his case coherently. He’s an impressive politician.”

Meanwhile, from the liberal side of the aisle, it is the apoplectic blogosphere that must yell and scream before even the most modest of official resistance bestirs.

Now, elected Democrats, standing up for your principles is not that hard once you get used to it. It’s just been so very long for you that you’re out of practice.

the senate judiciary committee has announced it will hold a hearing on the censure resolution this coming friday...

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Why isn't the "good news" from Iraq being reported?

a) there isn't very much good news to cover
b) it's too dangerous to go out and find good news
c) a story about 30 people killed in a car bombing is more newsworthy than the opening of a new school
d) the media wants to present the worst possible picture of what's happening in iraq

we know what george, dick, don and karl want us to believe but how about injecting some reality into the discussion...


(LARA LOGAN, CBS NEWS appeared on CNN's RELIABLE SOURCES with Howard Kurtz this morning... She was speaking from Baghdad...)
As a journalist, if an American soldier or an Iraqi person dies that day, you have to make a decision about how you weigh the value of reporting that news over the value of something that may be happening, say, a water plant that's being turned on that brings fresh water to 200 Iraqi people. I mean, you get accused of valuing human life in a certain way depending on how you report it.

And also, as -- I mean, what I would point out is that you can't travel around this country anymore without military protection. You can't travel without armed guards. You're not free to go every time there's a school opening or there's some reconstruction project that's being done.

We don't have the ability to go out and cover those. If they want to see a fair picture of what's happening in Iraq, then you have to first start with the security issue.

When journalists are free to move around this country, then they will be free to report on everything that's going on. But as long as you're a prisoner of the terrible security situation here, then that's going to be reflected in your coverage.

thank goodness there seem to be fewer and fewer people buying the bushco "blame the media" load of crap...

(thanks to atrios...)

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The march of the 500,000



(thanks to jeralyn at talkleft...)

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