Saturday, February 26, 2005

Remember MonicaGate with Clinton? Exactly, who could forget. The "liberal" media picked up on that controversy quickly and helped to blow it out of all proportion (thanks to the fan-flaming from the right). And yet:
GANNONGATE – MAINSTREAM MEDIA BLACKOUT: It's a story flush with intrigue – CIA secrets, White House malfeasance, hidden identities, even male prostitution. Yet, as's Eric Boehlert describes, the serious questions surrounding White House "reporter" Jeff Gannon have received only scant coverage in the mainstream media; two of the broadcast television networks, "as well as scores of major metropolitan newspapers around the country, have completely ignored it."
Liberal media my ass. More like lazy, meek, conventional media that is easily intimidated by the scary, bullying right.

UPDATE: Joe Conason has recently written about this topic. As he correctly notes,
Were the American media truly liberal—or merely unafraid to be called liberal—the saga of Mr. Guckert’s short, strange, quasi-journalistic career would be resounding across the airwaves.
The intrinsic media interest of the Guckert/Gannon story should be obvious to anyone who has followed his tale, which touches on hot topics from the homosexual underground and the investigation into the outing of C.I.A. agent Valerie Plame to the political power of the Internet. But our supposedly liberal media becomes quite squeamish when reporting anything that might humiliate the Bush White House and the Republican Party.
What Mr. Guckert seems to have been is not a journalist but a Republican dirty trickster. He was schooled at the Leadership Institute—an outfit run by veteran right-wing operative and Republican National Committee member Morton Blackwell. (It was Mr. Blackwell who distributed those cute "purple heart" Band-aids mocking Mr. Kerry’s war wounds at the Republican convention last summer.) His former employers at Talon News include leading Republican fund-raisers and former officials of the Texas Republican Party who have been active in partisan affairs for the past two decades.
Imagine the media explosion if a male escort had been discovered operating as a correspondent in the Clinton White House. Imagine that he was paid by an outfit owned by Arkansas Democrats and had been trained in journalism by James Carville. Imagine that this gentleman had been cultivated and called upon by Mike McCurry or Joe Lockhart—or by President Clinton himself. Imagine that this "journalist" had smeared a Republican Presidential candidate and had previously claimed access to classified documents in a national-security scandal.

Then imagine the constant screaming on radio, on television, on Capitol Hill, in the Washington press corps—and listen to the placid mumbling of the "liberal" media now.
Exactly my point. Remember this the next time a right-wing zealot blathers on about the "liberal" media. Just look at the fallout from the CBS / Dan Rather controversy -- any such fallout or repercussions here? Nope, and not likely since the media heeling like good doggies....
There's nothing like sweet poetic justice, and with the news about Mitch Daniels, it's sweet. Bush's former budget director, Daniels was the guy pushing for the huge tax cuts favoring the wealthy. Thanks to him (and GW) we have this enormous deficit.

Well, now Mitch is Indiana's governor and with the state facing a deficit, guess what Mitch has proposed to balance the budget? A 1% tax hike on workers making more than $100K. Yup, he advocates soaking the rich! Oh, and he wants to increase spending by $1 bil. over the next two years.

Hmm, me thinks this looks and smells like one of those liberal Democrats in the '70s, you know, the ones accused of taxing and spending. But that aside, this is just another sickening example of the hypocrisy on the right. How anyone can take what they have to say seriously is beyond me.... In time, they nearly always contradict what comes from their mouths.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Segments from a terrific Frank Rich column:
Jeff Gannon "worked for a news organization no more real than The Onion.... 'Jeff' was in the real White House, and he did have those exchanges with the real Mr. McClellan and the real Mr. Bush."
"Jeff Gannon" is now at least the sixth "journalist" (four of whom have been unmasked so far this year) to have been a propagandist on the payroll of either the Bush administration or a barely arms-length ally like Talon News while simultaneously appearing in print or broadcast forums that purport to be real news.
Even now, we know that the fake news generated by the six known shills is only a small piece of the administration's overall propaganda effort. President Bush wasn't entirely joking when he called the notoriously meek March 6, 2003, White House press conference on the eve of the Iraq invasion "scripted" while it was still going on. (And "Jeff Gannon" apparently wasn't even at that one). Everything is scripted.
The pre-fab "Ask President Bush" town hall-style meetings held during last year's campaign.... A Pentagon Office of Strategic Influence, intended to provide propagandistic news items, some of them possibly false, to foreign news media was shut down in 2002.... Another Pentagon propaganda arm, the Pentagon Channel, has recently been added as a free channel for American viewers of the Dish Network.
When the Bush administration isn't using taxpayers' money to buy its own fake news, it does everything it can to shut out and pillory real reporters.
Conservatives, who supposedly deplore post-modernism, are now welcoming in a brave new world in which it's a given that there can be no empirical reality in news, only the reality you want to hear (or they want you to hear).
Is the banishment of a real newsman for behaving foolishly at a bloviation conference in Switzerland a more pressing story than that of a fake newsman gaining years of access to the White House (and network TV cameras) under mysterious circumstances?
It always goes back to the same point: just imagine the right-wing if this were Clinton pulling this kind of crap.
"But we need more research...."
Pollution may worsen in northern US, report says
GW = US vs. Them

GW has to be the most coddled and politically-protected president in history. We know how his town-hall meetings leading up to last year's election were finely-tuned fabrications, completely artificial and staged. We know that when he finally does agree to press conferences, they're heavily controlled and brief (and sometimes contain fake reporters).

Now we read that his Europe tour is being extremely cleansed, insuring he doesn't see the MANY protesters and exhibitions of dislike:
Most conspicuous was the lack of contact between ordinary Germans and an American president visiting what could almost have been a stage setting: a town with buildings but no people, the shops and restaurants in the center of town closed, and only uniformed police officers on the streets.
This president was entirely sealed off from Germans - other than Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and the German journalists at a news conference, and even a town-meeting-type encounter with Mainz residents was scrubbed out of worry the mood would be hostile. A meeting with a group of carefully screened "young leaders" was put in its place.
He's like the king who must be shielded from seeing the ugly reality, the masses who may disagree with him and his rulings. And instead the "peasants" offer up their forced smiles, but all the while gnashing their teeth with disdain. It's been written that many of the European leaders are behaving in this same manner, shaking Bush's hand, smiling for the cameras, but at the end of the day looking to go opposite GW on many issues:
Indeed, analysts said, European leaders are increasingly united against U.S. positions and feel emboldened to go their own way on such issues as Iran and China.
Oh how wonderful. In his misguided intent to invade Iraq, we've managed to alienate and lose the goodwill relations of many of our European allies. What a wonderful trade-off. Of course, this tour is due much in part to Bush and Rice eating crow for these past digressions, but evidence points to it not working. What's done is done and as it was said by many prior to last November, it will require a new person in the White House to start us on the path back to mending relations with many allies -- in earnest -- and reestablishing close ties.

Like Soros, Dean LeBaron founded a financial firm and became very wealthy in the process and has since become involved in many things. He lives in Switzerland, among other places, and had this to say in a recent interview:
Well, I noticed something during my most recent stay in Switzerland, something so very substantially different that I commented on it in a video on my Website that I called "America's Under Quarantine." In some measure, it was a reaction to the recent election. But even a year or two ago, Europeans especially - but also others - were telling me, "We don't understand the American government. We were friendly and supportive of America after 9/11, and we tried to be helpful. But then America took such a high-handed approach" (essentially referring to the Bush Administration), "that we sort of pulled back and said, well, that will change after an election because Americans are such good and compassionate and generous people. They will not tolerate this degree of high-handedness." So, after the election, Europeans have been stunned. Some famously so. What was that headline in the The Standard of London? "How Can 53 Million Americans Be So Wrong To Have Voted For This-" I think they called him a dummy or something.

But my point is that there has been a big change in Europe. Now, it is not just the U.S. government that they don't like. It's the American people. Sure, we have some friends there, but Europeans in general really are afraid of America. And they have decided, "We'd just better distance ourselves as much as possible." So they are forming a European Defense Union, which is essentially NATO, without America. They are seriously discussing which currency will be a reserve currency, other than the dollar. They're discussing trade relationships that do not depend on the World Trade Organization, which they see as dominated by America, and so on. What I am saying is that we are being sidelined, and it's serious. There has been a sharp drop in the number of foreign students applying to American universities this year.
All of this is a good thing?
"We need more research! Rocket fuel by-product may be good for newborns...."

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Krugman is oh-so-right again (which is what most infuriates the right about him). He wisely warns that with the trouble GW is having creating fear (this time concerning Social Security), look for GW/Rove to "soon change the subject back to national security."

My right-wing friend is Exhibit A when it comes to illustrating just how well this strategy of deception works. You can bring up any subject, any political issue, and he'll almost always bring it back to terrorism. Complaining about potholes near your home? "What are you talking about? Potholes mean nothing when we could all be gone tomorrow!" Karl Rove would love to pat him on the head.

When it comes to actually protecting this county, Krugman lists how Bush has dropped the ball on several fronts. Chemical plants, nuclear plants, ports -- you name it and Bush has either blocked funding to increase safety or has chosen just to ignore the problem (something he's very good at doing). In fact, there's a story out today that our borders are being overwhelmed as "agents catch only about one-third of the estimated 3 million people who cross the border illegally every year."

Meanwhile, Bob Herbert writes about how GW's decision to invade Iraq has made us less safe. This topic simply can't be considered new terrain anymore; it's been stated many times before -- but it's worth repeating. He writes:
Porter Goss, the C.I.A. director, told the committee, "Islamic extremists are exploiting the Iraqi conflict to recruit new anti-U.S. jihadists." He added, "These jihadists who survive will leave Iraq experienced and focus on acts of urban terrorism."

The war, said Mr. Goss, "has become a cause for extremists." In his view, "It may only be a matter of time before Al Qaeda or another group attempts to use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons."

Vice Adm. Lowell Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said: "Our policies in the Middle East fuel Islamic resentment. Overwhelming majorities in Morocco, Jordan and Saudi Arabia believe the U.S. has a negative policy toward the Arab world."

An article in last Friday's Washington Post said the radical group Ansar al-Islam, which has carried out dozens of suicide bombings in Iraq, is recruiting young Muslims across Europe to join the insurgency.

So tell me again. What was this war about? In terms of the fight against terror, the war in Iraq has been a big loss. We've energized the enemy.
As I wrote on December 11, 2004:
I think first and foremost the retirement age MUST be adjusted up; life expectancy has increased by 13%, or 9 years, since 1950 and yet thanks to gutless politicians, the age cutoff remains stagnant. A bump up of just one or two years would make a huge difference.
Yesterday, William Saletan of wrote about the same thing:
How much money would a higher retirement age save? According to the Congressional Budget Office, if the ascent to age 67 were accelerated and completed by 2016, and if the retirement age kept rising two months a year until it hit age 70 in 2037, and if the rate of increase then slowed to one month every two years, Social Security outlays in 2050 would decline by 12 percent. A fully adjusted retirement age--one that kept pace with biology instead of lagging 40 years behind it, as the CBO's scenario does--would generate an even bigger surplus. By one rule of thumb, every year of recipient eligibility consumes about 7 percent of Social Security's financial commitments. Compared to the currently assumed retirement age of 67, an increase to age 73 could cut the government's obligations by as much as 40 percent. Either way, the projected Social Security deficit would disappear--and with it, the Democratic objection to personal retirement accounts, which could be funded out of the new payroll tax surplus.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Bill Gross & Rob Arnott are not dumb guys -- at all. Glad to see my views agree with theirs concerning the Social Security crisis (!!). Bill writes:
But this argument about insolvency and how much money is or will be in the Social Security Trust fund is really all so silly. It is an argument to promote an agenda that has little to do with seniors and more to do with Bush, his ownership society, and ultimately his domestic legacy alongside the likes of Ronald Reagan and FDR. Without a blockbuster of a program in his second term it is unlikely that Bush can go very far in the history books on the back of a paltry 3 or 4 percentage point tax cut for the rich. Presto! We now have partial privatization of Social Security heading the agenda upon which the President intends to spend his well-advertised political capital. Privatization, however, is advanced as a simple way to salvage a sinking system when in fact the problem has more to do with demographics than the lack of ownership.
He then offers the following chart:

The chart shows that the ratio of those over 65 vs. those under (20-65) goes up 80%, or nearly doubles, between 2010-2030. Gross states the fix can "only come from employed workers and so the basic solution is to produce more workers, either through immigration or postponed retirement for the existing workforce."

What are the odds conservatives are going to endorse the promotion of more immigration? Not likely. I've said the current eligible age is LONG overdue for a bumping up (life expectancy has increased since the 50's -- now it's closer to 74).

But Gross brings up a good point with the legacy comment. However, I thought GW was secure in having Iraq as his lasting achievement for the history books?
"Kevin, we've had 4+ years of this guy -- don't ask!"
President Bush today:
This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. Having said that, all options are on the table.
I don't get it. If all options are on the table, why is the notion that we might attack Iran ridiculous? -- Kevin Drum

Monday, February 21, 2005

CONDI IN 2008!

You go girl! This news is more of a sweet dream to the Dems than Hillary in '08 to the GOP -- by far. Doc Rice has so much damaging baggage, lies, distortions and examples of sheer incompetence that Dean et al won't know where to start.

Oh please, oh please, oh please make this happen....

Meanwhile, GW & Co. continue to twist and distort the words of FDR for political gain. Isn't this former president -- long dead -- the poster boy for r-wingnuts as the worst White House inhabitant in American history? Yet, that doesn't stop them from doing what they do best: fabricating "facts" and distorting as much as possible as means to achieve an end. Imagine the outcry if Dems did this with Reagan's words and image.

Oliphant writes about the daughter of Alan Keyes, who recently came out and announced she was gay. Leaving aside this comparison with Dick Cheney (who likewise has a gay daughter), apparently Alan is "abandoning" his daughter because of this revelation. Despicable. Are we to believe that up till now, Alan had no idea of the sexual orientation of his daughter? Oh c'mon now. He's from the family-values party, where one would expect he'd know such things about a family member. I surmise all of this disowning language is more typical red meat thrown to religious kooks to whom he must please as he depends on them for what's left of his political career. Also, it's another example of care for the unborn -- the already-born be damned. So, there's a foundation (The Point Foundation) specifically established to help out children who have been abandoned by parents because they're gay. Incredible.

Compare this to the Bush tapes recently released:
Early on, though, Mr. Bush appeared most worried that Christian conservatives would object to his determination not to criticize gay people. "I think he wants me to attack homosexuals," Mr. Bush said after meeting James Robison, a prominent evangelical minister in Texas.

But Mr. Bush said he did not intend to change his position. He said he told Mr. Robison: "Look, James, I got to tell you two things right off the bat. One, I'm not going to kick gays, because I'm a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?"

Later, he read aloud an aide's report from a convention of the Christian Coalition, a conservative political group: "This crowd uses gays as the enemy. It's hard to distinguish between fear of the homosexual political agenda and fear of homosexuality, however."

"This is an issue I have been trying to downplay," Mr. Bush said. "I think it is bad for Republicans to be kicking gays."
So, it appears as if GW does not really have an issue with gays per se but rather is under pressure from the Christian Right to "kick gays." But I thought GW was supposed to be Captain Political Courage, who made the hard choices and stood up for what he truly believed in? Oh yeah, right. He's just another political schmuck who will eat shit to win votes. Courage my ass.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

I've always liked Michael Crichton's TV show ER, but I'm not sure what happened to him when writing the book, "State of Fear." Full disclosure, I haven't read it yet, have only read several reviews and watched Crichton speak for about an hour on CSPAN about his book. I'm puzzled, mainly because he appears and sounds intelligent....
Scientists respond to Crichton's global warming data, studies

Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - Here are some of the studies and data that Michael Crichton cites in his book "State of Fear" and what climate scientists say about them:

Crichton's heroine notes that from 1940 to 1970 carbon dioxide emissions increased as world temperatures decreased (pgs. 86-7). "So if rising carbon dioxide is the cause of rising temperatures, why didn't it cause temperatures to rise from 1940 to 1970?" she asks.

New York University physics professor Martin Hoffert answers: "Simple. Climate change is caused by several factors: changes in solar radiation, aerosols that scatter sunlight and the buildup of human-emitted greenhouse gases. By the early 1970s, the growing CO2 in the atmosphere (and other human greenhouse gases) overwhelmed the other effects and will continue to do so in this century."

Crichton's heroine says much of the warming can be attributed to increased heat in growing cities because of reflection by buildings and asphalt. She cites examples of cities warming and towns not (pgs. 368-385). "At least one study suggests that half of the observed temperature change comes from land use alone. If that's true, then global warming in the past century is less than three-tenths of a degree. Not exactly a crisis."

Actually, oceans and rural areas are also warming, said Jeff Severinghaus, a geosciences professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif. "The ocean data says it all. Ground temperatures confirm this."

Crichton's heroine cites satellite data showing that the atmosphere five miles above the ground isn't warming, although global warming says it should be (pgs. 99-100). "Trust me," says the heroine. "The satellite data have been re-analyzed dozens of time. They're probably the most intensely scrutinized data in the world. But the data from the weather balloons agree with the satellites. They show much less warming than expected by the theory."

At least three groups of scientists have looked at the satellite data Crichton refers to and concluded that it understated temperatures. Longer-term weather balloon data also confirm warming trends, climate researchers say. According to Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, "Evidence is mounting that the (original satellite record) is not correct. The (newer) Remote Sensing Systems record is best in my view (but still not perfect) and is in full accord with models."

Crichton cites numerous locales where warming is not occurring (pgs. 190-4, 368-385). His protagonist says: "As you can see, many places in the United States do not seem to have become warmer since 1930."

Scientists say the global picture over a longer time period is important. What Crichton does, says Stanford University climatologist Stephen Schneider, "would be like trying to figure out the lifetime batting average of Barry Bonds by seeing what he did for three weeks in the year 2000."
In addition to the above article, Chris Mooney recently wrote in The Boston Globe that more than a few scientists Crichton cites in his book (footnotes) as friendly to his side have come out and said quite the contrary. "It's such a transparent literary device that Crichton uses," says Tom Wigley, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research who's cited in the book. "He makes the enviros out to be dummies." Douglas Hardy, who is also cited in the book, states Crichton is doing "what I perceive the denialists always to do, and that is to take things out of context, or take elements of reality and twist them a little bit, or combine them with other elements of reality to support their desired outcome." Mooney also writes, "Naomi Oreskes, a science studies scholar at the University of California, San Diego, recently analyzed more than 900 scientific articles listed with the keywords 'global climate change,' and failed to find a single study that explicitly disagreed with the consensus view that humans are contributing to global warming."

Ah, but if Oreskes didn't cut it short at 900 articles and instead looked at another say 100, he then would've found research debunking all of this nonsense. Just laziness on Oreskes' part.
Here's another topic whereby elected officials at the state level are doing what's in the best interest of their constituents because the top person at the federal level is negligent. Massachusetts has been at the forefront of stem-cell research and yet is now threatened by other states that have passed legislation supporting such research. If Mass. doesn't act in kind, they'll likely see their researchers pack their bags and head to more friendly states/employers.

The larger point is our country has likely already lost researchers to other nations, ones that are not bogged down by antiquated and backward-thinking laws. Undoubtedly, Bush/Rove took this stance to throw red meat to the Christian Right, but the problem with this stick-head-in-sand-and-pretend-its-not-real kind of thinking is if you choose to live in a fantasy, the rest of the reality-based world will just pick up the slack and pass you by. It's a bit like the lawyer when asked why he/she represents such an evil defendant, the lawyer replies, "if I didn't, another lawyer would." Yet the difference is one involves defending the likes of a Charles Manson, whereas the other involves the promise of helping people in need and saving lives.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Gratifying, encouraging, and yet sad. Bush decided very early in his first term to flip-flop on his campaign promise, turning his back on Kyoto and not once has he revisited the matter. (Funny, if he had such reservations and strong feelings against it, you'd think he could've arrived at those conclusions prior to the 2000 election, before he wrongly misled voters by proclaiming he was for it. It's not like anything changed with Kyoto in the months after November 2000 that would make him suddenly reverse course. Nope, it was a lie from the start, pure and simple).

And yet here we have the residents in the town of Newton, MA trying to do what they can to honor the treaty:
While much of the rest of the world today marks the beginning of the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a plan in the works in Newton would urge residents to get rid of the gas-guzzling SUVs, buy a hybrid car or better yet, take public transportation.

The recommendations are a few of several the Newton Citizens Commission on Energy will make to the town in its Energy Action Plan, scheduled to come before the Board of Aldermen at some point in the spring.

The group hopes the five-year strategic plan will set the groundwork for reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent overall and 20 percent in the municipal sector below 1998 levels by 2010.
I mentioned in a post several weeks ago that states and towns will start to take up the slack for this corporate-backed administration. Expect to see many more such examples, which again is terrific to see but also quite a pathetic statement about our national leadership.
It is hard to believe that George Bush has ever read the works of George Orwell, but he seems, somehow, to have grasped a few Orwellian precepts. The lesson the President has learned best--and certainly the one that has been the most useful to him--is the axiom that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. One of his Administration's current favorites is the whopper about America having been founded on Christian principles. Our nation was founded not on Christian principles but on Enlightenment ones. God only entered the picture as a very minor player, and Jesus Christ was conspicuously absent.

Our Constitution makes no mention whatever of God.
"In God We Trust" did not appear on our coinage until the Civil War, and "under God" was introduced into the Pledge of Allegiance during the McCarthy hysteria in 1954.
The Founding Fathers were not religious men, and they fought hard to erect, in Thomas Jefferson's words, "a wall of separation between church and state." John Adams opined that if they were not restrained by legal measures, Puritans--the fundamentalists of their day--would "whip and crop, and pillory and roast."
Tom Paine, "I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church." This is how he opened The Age of Reason, his virulent attack on Christianity. (Brooke Allen, The Nation)
Bush/Rove know: repeatedly state the lie and you lock-up 40+ million voters. What would God think?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

I just came across this article. Apparently the Christian Right recently woke up to the fact that protecting nature and trying to save the planet may in fact be something God would heartily endorse. (!!!).

Great, but perhaps the bigger question is why is this story just being reported now? The article mentions meetings on this subject were held last fall, prior to the November election. Were these meetings top secret? Did the "liberal" press not report these meetings for fear of influencing the election (similar to how they didn't report on Bush's listening device worn during the debate)? Could it be Evangelicals are politically-driven and kept such meetings hush-hush?

As mentioned in the article, Rev. Ted Haggard, president of a 30-million membership of Evangelicals, proclaims "The environment is a values issue." Duh! Why wasn't this kind of a statement ringing from all churches and places of worship prior to the election? I certainly didn't hear it and as I mentioned, we read it nowhere in the press. Sorry, but the fact that numerous Christian leaders (many cited in this article) chose to keep quiet and not voice such pro-environment opinions is all the evidence you need: these supposedly non-political folks are just that -- extremely political.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

From the Economic Research Department at The Northern Trust Co. in Chicago:
"...despite massive amounts of fiscal and monetary policy stimulus, the best that the economy could do was grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.46% in the 12 quarters of recovery/expansion. As the table below shows, economic growth in this expansion underperformed the average growth in previous post-war expansions by 140 basis points."
And I'm sure these folks are raving lefty liberals....
Kyoto global warming pact takes effect today (sans the U.S.) -- too late?

Budget Cuts FDS Safety Checks

Astounding. Play up the homeland security stuff, attempt to scare and frighten, yet in reality continue to underfund or cut domestic items that protect the public. Isn't safe food important?

I guess not when you consider we can all be nuked tomorrow by terrorists! Get your priorities straight! Clean air & water should be viewed as a luxury -- we must focus on the terrorists!! (now I'm being a good American)
Right-wingers bloggers likely in a flutter over the UN oil-for-food story. Of course, this news is very unfortunate and wrong, but it's the U.N., not the U.S. Don't you just love the way they dedicate their time and effort into bashing an entity that is not an arm of our representative government? To what extent does this merit our ire as opposed to the many wrongs committed by those who have been directly elected by us to serve us? It's called diversion, and the U.N. has always been a fave punching bag of the right-wing in this regard. Meanwhile, much of Rome burns....
"Young person, I WILL you to think conservative!!"(sadly, you just can't make this stuff up)

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Some scary stuff from the terrific Seymour Hersh, reporting in The New Yorker:
“This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone,” the former high-level intelligence official told me. “Next, we’re going to have the Iranian campaign."
In my interviews, I was repeatedly told that the next strategic target was Iran. “Everyone is saying, ‘You can’t be serious about targeting Iran. Look at Iraq,’” the former intelligence official told me. “But they say, ‘We’ve got some lessons learned—not militarily, but how we did it politically. We’re not going to rely on agency pissants.’ No loose ends, and that’s why the C.I.A. is out of there.”
The civilian leadership in the Pentagon has argued that no diplomatic progress on the Iranian nuclear threat will take place unless there is a credible threat of military action. “The neocons say negotiations are a bad deal,” a senior official of the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.) told me. “And the only thing the Iranians understand is pressure. And that they also need to be whacked.”
The Administration has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran at least since last summer. Much of the focus is on the accumulation of intelligence and targeting information on Iranian nuclear, chemical, and missile sites, both declared and suspected. The goal is to identify and isolate three dozen, and perhaps more, such targets that could be destroyed by precision strikes and short-term commando raids.
“They believe that about three-quarters of the potential targets can be destroyed from the air, and a quarter are too close to population centers, or buried too deep, to be targeted,” the consultant said. Inevitably, he added, some suspicious sites need to be checked out by American or Israeli commando teams—in on-the-ground surveillance—before being targeted.
The hawks in the Administration believe that it will soon become clear that the Europeans’ negotiated approach cannot succeed, and that at that time the Administration will act.
Hersh's credibility is proven top-notch so don't doubt the above; it's very likely to be 100% true. These guys truly are crazy.

Meanwhile, in The Atlantic, James Fallows writes about a war game run by some true big guns: an AF Colonel with 20+ years of experience with war simulations and whose exercises were adopted in last year's invasion of Iraq, former weapons inspector David Kay, former CIA experts on Iran and the region, etc.

Their conclusions:
1) Iran will have an arsenal in a few years.
2) Iran's involvement with Iraq is widespread; raise the heat on Iran and watch the heat suddenly rise in Iraq.
3) An Israeli strike would incur many risks.
4) There is no military solution; diplomacy must work.
Odds favor GW & the gang to once again ignore the sober, sane advice of others and to instead go gung-ho with all guns a blazing....
Fewer Gays Being Discharged Since 9/11; 'Don't Ask' Ousters At Lowest Level Yet

Funny how desperate need for soldiers leads to sudden tolerance. Look for Rove to spin this into demented proof that GW & Co. = "big tent"....

Bush Vows Veto of Any Cutback in Drug Benefit

His usual tantrum: "I'm right, I'm right, I'm right -- facts be damned!" Despite originally promising the program would cost no more than $400 bil. to get doubters to vote for it, the current estimate stands at $724 bil., or nearly twice that fudged amount. So GW, the man you can take at his word, is reneging on a promise -- won't be the first time, by any means.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Herbal Extract St. John's Wort has been found to be as effective as prescription drug in treatment of depression. The common anti-depressant prescription drug Paxil was compared to the natural treatment by a team of Researchers in Germany.

Prediction: The heavily-influenced-by-the-drug-lobby FDA will look to have herbal supplements controlled.
Apparently, Kristof can get it right every now and again. His latest column offers up some dead-on truths.

He states, "the most dangerous failure of U.S. policy these days is in North Korea" and that "Mr. Bush seems to recognize that his policy has failed - that's why he isn't talking much about North Korea now." Textbook behavior for a bully: strut and swagger where and when you can, but quickly cower and hide when the going gets tough.

"As best we know, it didn't make a single nuclear weapon during Bill Clinton's eight years in office.... In contrast, the administration now acknowledges that North Korea extracted enough plutonium in the last two years for about half a dozen nuclear weapons." Love to see the right-wing spin this one back at Clinton (and they undoubtedly will).

If you were told of a country that has tossed out international weapons inspectors, I bet Iraq would come to mind. North Korea has done the same, as well as withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Neither Iraq had or North Korea have terrorists (at least how we've come to define this term) and yet both had/have brutal tyrant dictators. Hmm, why invade one but not the other? Could it be that 1) the Bush administration knew all along that Iraq had no WMD, and therefore was no real threat to our soldiers if we invaded (not the case re North Korea), and 2) Iraq had plenty of that prized commodity, oil (North Korea has none).

I've maintained here that those two reasons explain it all.
Talk about high-stakes poker! (and does anyone feel GW could be a player in movie "Rounders"? -- scary):
North Korea admits they manufactured nukes.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan: "It's rhetoric we've heard before."

The low-key statements were designed "not to make the North Koreans enjoy our panic," said the senior diplomat from one of the countries.
Evangelical Christians: is this how Jesus would want it?
First, the facts: the (Bush) budget proposal really does take food from the mouths of babes. One of the proposed spending cuts would make it harder for working families with children to receive food stamps, terminating aid for about 300,000 people. Another would deny child care assistance to about 300,000 children, again in low-income working families.

And the budget really does shower largesse on millionaires even as it punishes the needy. For example, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities informs us that even as the administration demands spending cuts, it will proceed with the phaseout of two little-known tax provisions - originally put in place under the first President George Bush - that limit deductions and exemptions for high-income households.

More than half of the benefits from this backdoor tax cut would go to people with incomes of more than a million dollars; 97 percent would go to people with incomes exceeding $200,000.

It so happens that the number of taxpayers with more than $1 million in annual income is about the same as the number of people who would have their food stamps cut off under the Bush proposal. But it costs a lot more to give a millionaire a break than to put food on a low-income family's table: eliminating limits on deductions and exemptions would give taxpayers with incomes over $1 million an average tax cut of more than $19,000.

It's like that all the way through. On one side, the budget calls for program cuts that are small change compared with the budget deficit, yet will harm hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable Americans. On the other side, it calls for making tax cuts for the wealthy permanent, and for new tax breaks for the affluent in the form of tax-sheltered accounts and more liberal rules for deductions.
-- Paul Krugman, today, NY Times
Have to just love the hypocrisy -- goes with the GOP like stink on a skunk. The latest in the never-ending series: GannonGate (or should it be GuckertGate?).

Of course, the right-wing blogs are too busy blathering about non-stories (like Al Franken NOT running for Senate, or the usual fodder about the Clintons) to notice this item, which of course they'd be blaring from the rooftops if it were against a Dem in the highest office.

So, let's count the hypocrisy ways on this latest example:
1) Of course, the hypocrisy stems from the fact that these folks are the "family values" police, always preaching about what's righteous and of virtue. The hypocrisy has nothing to do with an invasion of privacy.
2) Some right-wing bloggers are pathetically trying to equate Clinton (of course) to this scandal, saying he was involved in not-nice acts. Um, newsflash: BJs are legal, prostitution is not.
3) It's been cited that Guckert, aka Gannon, was given a classified CIA memo (involved with the outing of Valerie Plame) -- illegal, right? Oh, and I don't recall Monica receiving classified documents....
4) How is it someone using a fake name/ID was given clearance to come and go from the White House? That's real reassuring, but more so suspicious.
"Mr. G" would seem to be (note: it's not known for certain yet re his sexual orientation; you read the many stories/blogs and decide) another in a long history of self-hating, right-wing homosexuals (Roy Cohn comes to mind), set on circulating anti-gay propaganda to achieve some insidious end.

It'll be interesting to see what comes of this story. It will likely die as the "liberal" press is not able nor interested in creating firestorms like the overtly right-wing media (FOX, talk radio, etc.).

Thursday, February 10, 2005

It's all liberal bunk! We need still more proof!
Last year was the fourth warmest since systematic temperature measurements began around the world in the 19th century, NASA scientists said yesterday.

Particularly high temperatures were measured over Alaska, the Caspian Sea region of Europe and the Antarctic Peninsula, while the United States was unusually cool. But the global average continued a 30-year rise that is "due primarily to increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," said Dr. James E. Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, in Manhattan.

The main source of such gases is smokestack and tailpipe emissions from burning coal and oil. (NY Times)
Peggy Noonan writes today about Pope John Paul. It is an excruciatingly long essay with her point supposedly to convey to us why the Pope's suffering is purposeful.

All well and good, if in fact she's able to actually communicate the point(s). I fail to comprehend it. (As an aside to all those religious, none of my comments, pro or con, have anything to do with the Pope but rather strictly Peggy Noonan; thought I'd steer off the trigger-happy emailers).

My question is: what is it exactly he's teaching us through his suffering (her words) that we don't necessarily learn from many others who go through the same sort of suffering when they're in the final stages of their lives? In her typical sanctimonious, and snobbish way, she elevates the Pope to God- or Christ-like levels, literally (read it, you'll see what I mean). Yet, as far as I understand it, Jesus tried to convey that each and every one of us is capable of being God-like as he implored that we act & feel in ways that he taught. In other words, the suffering of the Pope should not be held in any higher or lower regard than anyone else similarly suffering in the world. I realize his place in the religious order of things and fully appreciate the attention given to him (duh), but that's not what I am talking about, nor is Peggy supposed to be either.

As an example, she writes:
And yet as I watched him I realized I did not see him as ill and frail. I saw him as encased--trapped in there, in an outer immobility. And yet inside he is still John Paul.
I thought: he is a victim soul. His suffering has meaning.
He is teaching us something through his pain.
Huh? When I witnessed my grandfather dying of lung cancer, I too saw him "trapped in there" -- inside he was still there. Yet, his suffering, while personal, was just as "meaningful" as anyone else who was or is going through such suffering.

It's another instance of Peggy trying to wax poetic, and worse yet to try to attain deep, provocative heights, and ultimately failing -- by lots. She comes off sounding like some giddy, naive child, using kid-like prose to convey whatever it is she's trying to convey (it very often gets lost).

The kicker was this:
I called the great writer and thinker Michael Novak.
Yes, believe it, she considers Novak a great thinker. Nuf said.
My best friend -- who happens to be a kooky right-winger -- recently emailed, "Quite frankly, I am more concerned about what I perceive as global freezing." Hah hah, it's his usual cute line that he utters anytime the Northeast is hit with a period of cold, snowy weather.

My response:
Laugh, but again it's obvious you are WOEFULLY uninformed re this subject. I hesitate to even try to learn you realizing you'll probably half listen, if at that. I'll give it a shot but I have extremely low expectations.

Don't think of it as "global warming" per se, but rather climate change due to pollutants building up in the atmosphere. Yes, overall a warming trend is the result, but it's not a straight line, linear phenomena. Along the way on this trend, the result will be more volatile weather conditions, with periods of severe cold, severe snow, severe rain, but more often than not dramatically warmer conditions. It's because of this increase in hot-and-cold type patterns that allows for the right-wingers to snidely pop-off during a cold bout, "hey, it don't feel like global warming to me!"

Why should this greater degree of disparity happen? Well, for one, what the less-informed often don't know is the extent to which ocean currents play into our weather pattern. However, before I discuss this, can you tell me where you, or other right-wingers, think the pollutants go? Do they just rise and disappear into outer space (wouldn't that be nice!)? Do our fast-disappearing trees engulf them? (My bet is you haven't thought about it, or more likely, choose not to). Newsflash: the pollutants rise and build-up in the atmosphere, forming an increasingly dense layer of insulation, if you will, trapping more and more sunlight. The resulting warming causes the Arctic ice to melt (well documented, by NASA amongst others) which then causes changes to ocean currents. The Gulfstream and the like drive weather patterns and as it changes so also does our weather. (If you doubt this, go to any encyclopedia and look up "weather").

The bottom line is the process is extremely complicated and all inter-connected. The problem with the right-wingers, as usual, is they take a very simplistic, black-and-white view of the issue -- and when it doesn't conform to their simplistic view, they offer up simple-minded, snide remarks. Despite what GW Inc. will have many believe, there is a TON of evidence out there proving that climate change is real and is due to human activity. Yet, as I said at the start, you'll likely choose to doubt all of this (why live with guilt, right?), toss it out as liberal bunk before doing one bit of research on your own, and instead choose to live in your own private Idaho, creating "facts" that suit your lifestyle. It's called living in denial.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

BASRA, Iraq (AP) — Iraqi officials Wednesday delayed the announcement of final results from landmark national elections because they said the election commission must recount votes from about 300 ballot boxes.

An undetermined number of other ballots were declared invalid because of alleged tampering, officials said.
Why the delay? They don't in this country.
The White House released budget figures yesterday indicating that the new Medicare prescription drug benefit will cost more than $1.2 trillion in the coming decade, a much higher price tag than President Bush suggested when he narrowly won passage of the law in late 2003.

How much higher you ask? Try three times higher. And recall this was the episode where they threatened to fire the actuary who knew the true cost was much higher than what the administration was professing. Just another in a series of lies....
USA Today has a poll showing 55% of Americans oppose Bush's Social Security plan (40% favor it). But that's not likely the bad news for GW & Co. Instead, it's:
1) 68% of those surveyed deemed it a “good idea” to limit retirement benefits for the wealthy and to subject all wages to payroll taxes.

2) In early January, 18% of those polled felt SS was a crisis. More currently, and after Bush's SOTU address, just 17% do -- a lower number.
So, the public is not "cooperating" like they have in the past. They're not blindly adopting "the message," suggesting that Karl Rove's mastery at framing an issue in a highly deceptive manner has finally hit a potential speed bump.

It's one thing for the public to be against GW's plan (that can be "corrected," as it was said in "The Shining"). However, it's quite another for them to demand that the rich pay (dearly?). Never before have they demanded such justice, such sacrifice -- what's gotten into them? Uh oh, Rove may have a problem on his hands, but something tells me he'll eventually come up with the right combination of Madison Ave.-type deception and just good old fashioned sleaze to bilk the public once more.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

"Remember not too long ago when we gave you the middle finger? Well, please get past that and let's be friends!"
In looking at Bush's proposed budget, it appears it's business as usual: cut the usual suspects, leave defense untouched, and then deceive, deceive, deceive.

For starters, he says he'll cut his escalating budget deficit in half by 2009 -- but does so by first inflating the deficit figure from $412 bil. to $521 bil. What the heck, what's another $109 bil., right? So, with this bit of underhanded trickery, he won't have to get to $206 bil. to fulfill his promise, but rather $261 bil. Oh, and the ballooning costs associated with Iraq and Afghanistan? Not included, they're "off budget" (hmmm, didn't Enron pull this kind of stuff? Bush taking a page from his buddy Kenny Boy's book?).

Defense spending will increase by 7%, or three times as much as the overall budget. The programs taking it on the chin (numbering 150)? Nearly all of them involved with helping middle to lower income folks. An example: The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps people pay their heating bills, would be cut by 8.4%.

And of course, the EPA gets its obligatory yearly cut, this time slicing its budget by 5.6%. The greatest single slash: federal payments to a joint state-federal fund that underwrites projects to improve water quality. But who needs clean water? After all, we could be killed tomorrow by terrorists!

Monday, February 07, 2005

A few days ago, GW recited a speech about Social Security and then took questions (i.e. he then went out on the high wire, without a net). Here's one of his informed replies:
THE PRESIDENT: Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised.

Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.

Okay, better? I'll keep working on it.
Although no comment need follow, I can't help myself. To anyone who's at least somewhat intellectually honest, does this sound like someone who knows that of what he speaks? It's plainly obvious that GW has absolutely no idea what he's talking about -- and this is the guy who's going to engineer the fix for SS. Pray.

(thanks Daily Kos)
Surprise! Bush cheats and gets away with it (thanks to "liberal" newspaper).
First, congrats Patriots! Great game, their third SB victory in fours years, with all three wins oddly by just a field goal. McNabb's three INTs was the likely key factor in such a close game (confusing McNabb was Patriot's decision to switch from their usual 3-4 defense to a 4-3). Belichick (and his coaching staff) deserve top honors. It will be interesting to see if Belichick will be able to replace his exiting coaches (both offensive and defensive coordinator) as adeptly as he's done so with players.

On the business front this morning, the WSJ is reporting prior undisclosed documents show Merck had proof that Vioxx was putting users at risk for certain heart problems after just four months on the drug, and the NY Times reports that Pfizer did not submit studies indicating Celebrex increased the risk of heart problems. With all the attention being placed on Social Security (crisis!!), wouldn't it make sense for some focus to be placed on how we go about regulating and approving drugs in this country? After all, although SS has problems that need addressing, no one ever died from SS-related causes! We're talking about deaths that very well could've been prevented and at the very least doctors and patients should have had fair warning(s) so that they could've made educated choices. Where's the public outrage?

Once again, it's all about the framing of issues. It's not a crisis deserving of attention until certain clowns in DC decide to shoot off the fireworks.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

I've been critical of Kristof in the past, and I did read his most recent column in the Times and thought about commenting here but then figured, why bother. His stuff is so consistently lame and riddled with reasoning-holes that I decided instead of making a regular practice of commenting, to instead just let it go.

That said, Kevin Drum took the time to comment. He says much of what I objected to, though there's more to be said, but Kevin likely figured the same: why bother.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Although I couldn't stomach watching GW give his SOTU address (which is seemingly 80% gratuitous applause anyway), I did of course take time to read the transcript. What follows are his choice words followed by my comments (in italics):

"To keep our economy growing, we also need reliable supplies of affordable, environmentally responsible energy. Nearly four years ago, I submitted a comprehensive energy strategy that encourages conservation...." (ah yes, he must throw in the "environmentally" phrase,a laugh, and then follows it with a lie about encouraging that virue of all virtues, conservation)

"My Clear Skies legislation will cut power plant pollution" (a lie, or at min. a HUGE distortion)

"In today's world, people are living longer and therefore drawing benefits longer" (hey, how bout that, some truth!)

"Some have suggested limiting (Social Security) benefits for wealthy retirees." (yeah, try Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and other "morons")

"During the 1990s, my predecessor, President Clinton, spoke of increasing the retirement age." (I knew my #1 cure for SS was on the side of great minds)

"I will listen to anyone who has a good idea to offer." (I would call this the biggest lie in the speech, but I'll wait to see if he delivers)

"Our second great responsibility to our children and grandchildren...." (how about clean air & water?)

"Because marriage is a sacred institution and the foundation of society, it should not be redefined by activist judges. For the good of families, children and society, I support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage." (a big clue here as he follows warning against "activist judges" with ban on gay marriage -- red meat thrown to the religious right; throughout the speech, you have to parse and read between lines for the true message(s))

"Medical research can help us reach that goal, by developing treatments and cures that save lives and help people overcome disabilities, and I thank Congress for doubling the funding of the National Institutes of Health." (no mention of stem cell research -- which holds tremendous promise for specifically those with disabilities -- here an omission for the religious right)

"I will work with Congress to ensure that human embryos are not created for experimentation or grown for body parts, and that human life is never bought and sold as a commodity. America will continue to lead the world in medical research that is ambitious, aggressive, and always ethical." (oops, wrote too soon, but does this mean stem cell researchers around the world are unethical?)

"The Constitution also gives the Senate a responsibility: Every judicial nominee deserves an up or down vote." (sneaky sentence: with Clinton, they simply blocked his nominees so they would never get to be voted on, period -- a big difference from what GW, or Sen. Hatch, says)

"Taking on gang life will be one part of a broader outreach to at-risk youth, which involves parents and pastors, coaches and community leaders...." (gang members will find Christ!)

"In America we must make doubly sure no person is held to account for a crime he or she did not commit, so we are dramatically expanding the use of DNA evidence to prevent wrongful conviction. Soon I will send to Congress a proposal to fund special training for defense counsel in capital cases, because people on trial for their lives must have competent lawyers by their side." (this is actually terrific -- see, I'm not partisan blind! though let's see if he actually provides the funding)

"Our third responsibility to future generations...." (how about clean air & water? nope, apparently not)

"In the three-and-a-half years since September 11th, 2001, we have taken unprecedented actions to protect Americans. We have created a new department of government to defend our homeland, focused the FBI on preventing terrorism, begun to reform our intelligence agencies, broken up terror cells across the country, expanded research on defenses against biological and chemical attack, improved border security, and trained more than a half million first responders." (he originally opposed creating the DHS, he opposed real intel reform, and he hasn't funded internal-U.S. security measures like beefing up border patrol or securing chemical & nuclear plants, etc.)

"The al-Qaeda terror network that attacked our country still has leaders but many of its top commanders have been removed." (notice he has conspicuously dropped the "75%" figure (replaced with "many") they were flinging around months ago -- until Dr. Rice made a fool of herself on TV re it)

"Our country is still the target of terrorists who want to kill many and intimidate us all...." (maintain the fear!!)

"I thank the Congress for providing our servicemen and women with the resources they have needed. During this time of war, we must continue to support our military and give them the tools for victory." (huh? what about the lack of armor? or for that matter, the lack of resources in the form of more troops? safety in numbers esp. holds true here!)

"In Iraq, 28 countries have troops on the ground...." (hasn't this number shrunk? it was always dubious given the list of "representative" countries, but with many having pulled out, what nations remain exactly? notice he states not a one)

"We are working closely with governments in Asia to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions." (but he doesn't ever mention what is likely our #1 threat going forward: loose nukes)

"The United States has no right, no desire and no intention to impose our form of government on anyone else. That is one of the main differences between us and our enemies. They seek to impose and expand an empire of oppression, in which a tiny group of brutal, self-appointed rulers control every aspect of every life. Our aim is to build and preserve a community of free and independent nations...." (get a load of this, he states "no intention to impose" but then two sentences later states "our aim is to build" -- nation building anyone?!)

"To promote this democracy, I will ask Congress for $350 million to support Palestinian political, economic and security reforms." (compare this figure to the $9 billion that is missing in Iraq)

"Today, Iran remains the world's primary state sponsor of terror, pursuing nuclear weapons while depriving its people of the freedom they seek and deserve. We are working with European allies to make clear to the Iranian regime that it must give up its uranium enrichment program and any plutonium reprocessing, and end its support for terror. And to the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you." (wow, a doozy.... Iran HAS to be upset with this direct and forceful mention on primetime, global TV.... esp. with GW's last sentence where he takes a page from his father and seemingly pledges U.S. support to those Iranians who want to rise up in protest)

"Our men and women in uniform are fighting terrorists in Iraq, so we do not have to face them here at home." (insurgents do not equate to "terrorists" at least not in how we Americans view the word; he's once again trying to blur 9-11 with the insurgents and Iraq in general)

"A young woman in Baghdad told of waking to the sound of mortar fire on election day, and wondering if it might be too dangerous to vote." (it's truly a sad statement that Iraq had a 60% voter turnout -- identical to our country's Nov. election; did we face bombs / death?)

"The terrorists and insurgents are violently opposed to democracy...." (there he goes again, blending & blurring "terrorists" with "insurgents")

"We will not set an artificial timetable for leaving Iraq, because that would embolden the terrorists and make them believe they can wait us out. We are in Iraq to achieve a result: a country that is democratic, representative of all its people, at peace with its neighbors, and able to defend itself." (I thought we were there to find WMD? Nope, we're there first and foremost for the black gold, oil, and as long as that precious commodity needs to be protected, we'll be there)

"Some of our servicemen and women have survived terrible injuries, and this grateful country will do everything we can to help them recover. And we have said farewell to some very good men and women, who died for our freedom, and whose memory this nation will honor forever." (and yet we've never seen GW attend one funeral)

"As Franklin Roosevelt once reminded Americans...." (FDR is rolling in his grave!)

A technically well-written speech, but as for the content itself, I would have expected nothing less from this guy.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Scientific tests have led American intelligence agencies and government scientists to conclude with near certainty that North Korea sold processed uranium to Libya, bolstering earlier indications that the reclusive state exported sensitive fuel for atomic weapons, according to officials with access to the intelligence.

The determination, which has circulated among senior government officials in recent weeks, has touched off a hunt to determine if North Korea has also sold uranium to other countries, including Iran and Syria. So far, there is no evidence that such additional transactions took place.

Nonetheless, the conclusion about Libya, which is contained in a classified briefing that has been described to The New York Times, could alter Washington's debate about the assessment of the North Korean nuclear threat. In the past, some administration officials have argued that there is time to find a diplomatic solution because there was no evidence that the government of Kim Jung Il was spreading its atomic technology abroad. (NY Times)
As I said below, "They've been oh-so-right at every turn...."
Brendan Miniter pens an editorial in the WSJ wherein he's basically urging GW to give the "problem" Dems the middle finger re Social Security private accounts, to not attempt to craft a bipartisan remedy. Typical WSJ stuff. However, my favorite, and most revealing, line is the following:
I'd go further and say that unless the Democrats start to offer serious ideas, the party will help to cement a long-lasting Republican majority as the GOP saves Social Security on its own.
I just love the way right-wingers automatically assume that their idea of fixing SS will no-doubt "save" it, like it's in stone. Laughable. We know humility is not in their make-up, but just look at how their tax cuts were not going to seriously affect the surplus, or how the Iraqis were going to immediately embrace us, literally. They've been oh-so-right at every turn -- yes, let's trust them again, by all means!
"We Accept & Embrace All (as long as you're not a liberal and/or staunch Dem)"

Amy Sullivan:
Those of you interested in news from the world of religion and politics might want to stop by (headed by Washington Monthly contributing editor Steve Waldman), where I'm the liberal blogger for the week. Today you can read about the revelatory New York Times article reporting that conservatives don't believe Hillary Clinton when she talks about faith and morality. They think she's a big faker. Here's a tip for our friends at the Times: Conservatives also don't believe Hillary Clinton when she says the sky is blue or that two plus two equals four.
But they'll believe GW if he claims Iraq has WMD, Social Security is in crisis mode, that global warming is bunk, that he's an environmentalist, that he's a uniter not a divider, and other such complete nonsense.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

To get what they want, GW and the Republicans manufacture or create an atmosphere of panic and crisis. They toss around alarmist language on a regular basis, repeating the same few catch phrases in the hope that media outlets will oblige and continue the domino effect. In time, the public is confused -- and afraid, primed to give GW & Co. whatever they desire.

Too many of the problems that face us have fairly painless remedies. As an example, a tremendous amount of mending would result for Social Security if the eligible age was simply raised to 70. That's it. Another example: instead of giving in to the BS that we need to drill in ANWAR to attain energy independence, if the fuel efficiency of our auto fleet were raised by just 0.4 MPG (less than 1 MPG!), more gas would be saved than will ever come from ANWAR.

Our "crises" have fairly painless solutions. The problem is solutions are not the desired end by GW and Republicans. Guess what is?
So the Bush-paid-off-journalists count stands at 3 (and is likely to go higher, the cockroach theory). As I've said repeatedly in the past, imagine Clinton with this scandal. The Republicans would be raising this stink to high heaven. It would be all over FOX News and talk radio, soon gravitating to the other networks and newspapers. Yet, have we really heard a peep over this? Has the NY Post written even one article on it? In fact, what's worse, lying about a BJ or using taxpayer money to secretly pay journalists to promote a partisan political agenda? Your answer to that question will reveal much about you.