Saturday, February 10, 2007

Obama pledges to 'transform' politics

I haven't watched the news all day, so I did not hear Obama's speech. Nevertheless, his use of the word, "transform," as opposed to the usual "reform." is heartening and, actually, odd, here at the Lantern, as we received a communique from one of our mountain elders who used the exact same term.

Think I'll share it in a coming post so Dear Readers can see what I mean by odd.

Obama pledges to 'transform' politics - Financial Times -

Barack Obama, the brightest rising star of US politics, on Saturday officially announced he was running for the White House in 2008, vowing to emulate Abraham Lincoln by unifying a divided nation and building 'a more hopeful America'.

The Democratic senator, bidding to become the first black US president, made his declaration to thousands of cheering supporters on a bitterly cold morning in Springfield, Illinois, where both he and President Lincoln started their political careers as state senators.

The Arab Silence

What's really going on in the Arab world of Grand Poo- bahs and High Hoohahs?

Independent Online Edition > Robert Fisk:

Could Rifaat al-Assad's day in court be growing closer? Yes, Rifaat - or Uncle Rifaat to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria - the man whose brother Hafez hurled him from Damascus after he tried to use his special forces troops to stage a coup. They were the same special forces who crushed the Islamist rebellion in Hama in February 1982, slaughtering up to - well, a few thousand, according to the regime, at least 10,000 according to Fisk (who was there) and up 20,000 if you believe The New York Times (which I generally don't).

Either way, I've always regarded it as a war crime, along with the massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatila camps in Beirut by Israel's Lebanese militia allies a few months later. Ariel Sharon, who was held personally responsible by Israel's own court of enquiry, is an unindicted war criminal. So is Rifaat.

Hillary: I Didn't Vote For Pre-Emptive War

Me thinks that Hillary just told a whopper!

WTF did she think was going to happen?

The Neocons tried to sell her husband on the same goofy plan that is currently destroying the country: Regime change in Iraq by force.

President Clinton said, no. Surely he informed her of this fact.

No more Clintons or Bushes in the White House, please!

Hillary: I Didn't Vote For Pre-Emptive War | TPMCafe:

By Eric Kleefeld | bio

In advance of her trip to New Hampshire this weekend, Hillary Clinton has clarified her Iraq war vote in an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader — and she says that her vote for the 2002 resoltuion was not automatically a vote to go to war. From the interview (emphasis ours):

Engineer: GPS Shoes Make People Findable

Just got a cosmic message from Orwell:

"I am so glad I am dead!"

Engineer: GPS Shoes Make People Findable:

MIAMI (AP) - Isaac Daniel calls the tiny Global Positioning System chip he's embedded into a line of sneakers 'peace of mind.' He wishes his 8-year-old son had been wearing them when he got a call from his school in 2002 saying the boy was missing. The worried father hopped a flight to Atlanta from New York where he had been on business to find the incident had been a miscommunication and his son was safe.

Days later, the engineer started working on a prototype of Quantum Satellite Technology, a line of $325 to $350 adult sneakers that hit shelves next month. It promises to locate the wearer anywhere in the world with the press of a button. A children's line will be out this summer.

'We call it a second eye watching over you,' Daniel said.

More Ground Zero Heroes On The Record: Building 7 Was Deliberately Brought Down

As we have said time and again, this appalling, criminal administration must die where it was really born; on a pile of smoldering rubble in Lower Manhattan.

A cycle as dark as this one, must be consciously brought to completion.

More Ground Zero Heroes On The Record: Building 7 Was Deliberately Brought Down:

Two more ground zero emergency rescue personnel are on the record as stating they were told Building 7 was going to be brought down on 9/11 hours before its symmetrical implosion, completely contradicting the official explanation of accidental collapse.

The new revelations provoke urgent questions about how a building was rigged with explosives within hours when such a process normally takes weeks or months and why the decision was taken to demolish the building amidst the chaos of the situation on that day.

Yesterday we reported on the testimony of an anonymous EMT named Mike who told Loose Change producer Dylan Avery that hundreds of emergency rescue personnel were told over bullhorns that Building 7, a 47 story skyscraper adjacent the twin towers that was not hit by a plane yet imploded symmetrically later in the afternoon on 9/11, was about to be 'pulled' and that a 20 second radio countdown preceded its collapse.

"Dark Clouds Gather on the Distant Horizon: The World Awaits George W. Bush's Attack on Iran"

Do you ever just suddenly feel as if you might be violently ill, just from reading the news?

The Progressive Daily Beacon: "Dark Clouds Gather on the Distant Horizon: The World Awaits George W. Bush's Attack on Iran":

Dark clouds gather on the distant horizon - their presence trumpets the undeniable reality that something sinister is coming this way. As the light of truth and reality fades from the nation's political consciousness, between the flashes of lies and deceit is seen the foreboding outline of vultures awaiting tragedy and their chance to feast on the death it is certain to deliver. All of humanity has paused, marking time until George W. Bush and Dick Cheney order the U.S. military to attack Iran.

It shouldn't be long now.

"These Are Tough Days to Be a Republican"

I just keep wondering when ordinary Republicans, like my father's Republicans, are going to break out of their denial and face the hard reality that Cheney and, therefore, Junior do not give a crap about the GOP.

The GOP is, for them, nothing but a power tool with which to pursue the Neoconservative, imperial vision as mapped out by the PNACers and the AEI.

We are now at a point of no return:

Do we want to continue our 200 and some odd year struggle to be a true Democratic Republic, or do we wish to simply give up and go with the flow towards a unique American fascism at home to support a corporate empire abroad?

Are there any of my father's Republicans left?

Anyone out there, who cares more about this country than they do their own inept and corrupt political party?

Or is it, again, up to the people?

The Progressive Daily Beacon: "These Are Tough Days to Be a Republican":

These are tough days to be a Republican. Really, who would want to be one? Their President was, according to real-life polling, considered more villainous than Lucifer...that's no joke. That's what this past December's AP/AOL News Poll found. This really is no time to be a Republican.

If Republicans were to meet with a group of today's kids and share with them all the GOP's woes, the kids would say, 'It sucks to be you!' And they'd be more correct than anybody had a right to be.

The Un-indicted Co-Conspirator

Just had a waft of that old Watergate feeling pass through me, again.

It isn't a good feeling. It is a terrifying feeling.

It must happen, I know. There is no choice but full accountability, this time.

It will, no doubt, not happen in the same way it did with Nixon.

This is Watergate on Mescaline!

Pundits like to say that the system worked during the Nixon nightmare.

Yes, one could say that it did, until Nixon was pardoned. That was the beginning of the road that would, inevitably, lead us to this sorry state.

Today, we are closer to a nuclear war than we have been since the Cuban missile crisis, at least that the public really ever knew about.

The problem with public, nuclear saber rattling, by people, neither of which have a very healthy ego (inflated beyond all belief, but disintegrated as hell), should be obvious.

Cheney at center of Libby trial - Politics -

"It is I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby whom special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is trying to put in jail in connection with the disclosure of a CIA operative’s identity, but as Libby’s trial reached the halfway point Wednesday, Fitzgerald appeared to be just as intent on putting Vice President Dick Cheney near the center of the case.

Libby, Cheney’s former chief of staff, is charged with perjury for telling a federal grand jury in 2004 that he first learned of the operative’s covert status from NBC News Washington bureau chief Tim Russert. Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald wrapped up his case Wednesday with Russert’s testimony contradicting Libby’s assertion.

Anatomy of Deceit: How the Bush Administration Used the Media to Sell the Iraq War and Out a Spy (Paperback)

This book is written by a blogger/citizen journalist, Marcy Wheeler, who manages to connect more dots in one published outing than the corporate press and news media have in 4 years.

For one jaw-dropping example: Judith Miller of the NYT wanted to stay in Iraq as the unit in which she was embedded prepared to leave the country.

The main reason for her wanting to stay was that she was being fed non-stop bullshit by Pentagon Darling, Ahmed Chalabi, and if she left, there would be no conduit for the bullshit, as it was meant for American consumption.

The Pentagon came to her rescue and arranged for her to stay in-country.

Guess who Judy's knight on white horse was?

No less than General Petraeus, the latest of Junior's about-to-be failed Generals

Buy the book:
BuzzFlash Review: Anatomy of Deceit: How the Bush Administration Used the Media to Sell the Iraq War and Out a Spy (Paperback):

In writing a review of this extraordinary book about the Plame-Gate/Treason-Gate crimes -- written by a citizen journalist, blogger Marcy Wheeler -- we have to take a deep breath for several reasons.

First of all, what Wheeler accomplishes as an unpaid journalistic investigator (she works as a full-time business consultant, out of Ann Arbor, unrelated to politcs) so thoroughly shames the corporate media, it is breathtaking. You realize, in the end, that the corporate media, exists in large part, to protect the status quo. So, they minimized the colossal treason and national betrayal of outing a CIA operative specializing in the illicit sale of Weapons of Mass Destruction, even though we invaded Iraq in large part because the Bush Administration deceitfully claimed that Saddam Hussein had WMDs.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Rockefeller Plans Investigations Into Pre-War Intel.

Looks like old Pat Roberts can't slam the door on pre-war shenanigans of people like Douglas Feith, who headed up Cheney's and Rumsfeld's own little Intelligence unit, apparently, the sole purpose of which, was to stove-pipe bullshit to the OVP and provide false or very shady evidence to prosecute a war of choice, AKA; a war of aggression, a crime against peace.

This is an investigation we simply must have.

People who say that it no longer matters how we got into this nightmare, only that we are now there and must determine what to do now, are full of donkey crap.

Of course it matters!

How we got into this horrendous quagmire in Iraq is largely the problem.

TPMmuckraker February 8, 2007 06:14 PM:

As vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) was often outmaneuvered by GOP chair Pat Roberts (R-KS), when it came to prewar intelligence. In response to the Pentagon inspector general's report on the Office of Special Plans, however, Rockefeller is hinting that era is fully closed. From a Rockefeller statement, just released:

The IG has concluded that this office was engaged in intelligence activities. The Senate Intelligence Committee was never informed of these activities. Whether these actions were authorized or not, it appears that they were not in compliance with the law.

“In the coming days, I will carefully review all aspects of the report and will consult with Vice Chairman Bond to determine whether any additional action by the Senate Intelligence Committee is warranted.

Tomgram: Over the Cliff with George and Dick?

This is a bloody must read, if there ever was one:

TomDispatch - Tomgram: Over the Cliff with George and Dick?:

Let me make an argument about Bush administration Iran policy -- about the possibility that a regime-change-style, shock-and-awe air assault might someday be launched on Iranian nuclear facilities and associated targets -- based on no insider knowledge, just the logic of George-and-Dick's Thelma-and-Louise-style imperialism.

Of course, we all know at least half the story by now. Is there anybody in official Washington -- other than our President, Vice President, the Vice President's secretive imperial staff, assorted backs-against-the-wall neocon supporters lodged in the federal bureaucracy, and associated right-wing think tanks -- who isn't sweating blood, popping pills, and wondering what in the world to do about our delusional leaders?

Pentagon prepares for failure in Iraq

While Bush and the GOP continue to push for the "Last Presidential Heave" in Iraq, the Pentagon prepares for reality.

Failure is a sure bet.

The Pentagon's not-so-little secret |

"Feb. 8, 2007 | Deep within the bowels of the Pentagon, policy planners are conducting secret meetings to discuss what to do in the worst-case scenario in Iraq about a year from today if and when President Bush's escalation of more than 20,000 troops fails, a participant in those discussions told me. None of those who are taking part in these exercises, shielded from the public view and the immediate scrutiny of the White House, believes that the so-called surge will succeed. On the contrary, everyone thinks it will not only fail to achieve its aims but also accelerate instability by providing a glaring example of U.S. incapacity and incompetence.

Toobin: Russert huge blow to defense

It may have been a blow, but it certainly was not surprise. Did anyone not know what Russert was going to say?

Toobin: Russert huge blow to defense -

"NEW YORK (CNN) -- NBC's Tim Russert, the last prosecution witness in I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby's perjury trial, takes the stand again on Thursday.

The 'Meet the Press' host testified Wednesday he did not inform Libby of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity, as Libby has said.

The prosecution is expected to wrap up with Russert, and then the defense will have a chance to drill the prosecution's star witness.

CNN's Heidi Collins spoke with legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin about the effectiveness of the prosecution's tactics.

COLLINS: How big of a blow was Russert's testimony to Scooter Libby's defense?

TOOBIN: I think it's a huge blow. You know, this has been a very lean, quick and effective prosecution. The prosecution is just about done, and it's only really been about two weeks of testimony. And the prosecution has done what the prosecution always wants to do in a criminal case, which is say, look, this is simple -- Libby testified to the grand jury that he heard about Valerie Wilson's status as a CIA agent from Tim Russert.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Veterans Group Speaks Out on War

Now, here's some good news......

We stand with Mr. Soltz, and why not?

He was a soldier and knows a little something about leading and following.

He is a human being that is familiar with the truth and he is an American, one of the few, who takes his oath, to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic, seriously.

That is the only kind of person I want in the fox-hole or in a battle with me.

Veterans Group Speaks Out on War -

When Iraq war veteran Jon Soltz accused Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) of 'aiding the enemy,' the Democratic senators gathered around him yesterday did not wince. Nor did Democrats object when Soltz, the chairman of a group called, called President Bush and Vice President Cheney 'draft dodgers.'

In the United States Congress, where decorum usually holds sway, Soltz and his small band of veterans are saying things many Democrats would like to express but can't. And as the politics heat up over the Iraq war, Democratic leaders increasingly are being drawn to Soltz and his angry soldiers.

Bush and Cheney must come clean

Hell, they probably will, just like they do every time they are caught, dead-to-rights, in some crime or the other.

Then they'll say, "So what? You can't stop us."

Can we?

WorkingForChange-Bush and Cheney must come clean:

Did president ask Libby to take the fall?

At long last, the fog of mystification generated by the Bush administration and the Washington media is lifting, so that everyone can see clearly why I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby is on trial and why his prosecution is important. Whether the jury eventually finds the former White House aide innocent or guilty of perjury, the evidence shows that his bosses George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have misled the public from the very beginning about the vengeful leaking of Valerie Plame Wilson's C.I.A. identity.

The question that now hangs over the President and the Vice President is whether they lied to special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald -- the same crime for which their fall guy Scooter now faces possible imprisonment and disgrace. According to published reports, the special counsel interviewed both Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney during the summer of 2004. The only way for them to dispel the suspicion that they may have lied to him is to permit full disclosure of those interviews.

From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq: Politics & Power:


What is it going to take to stop these crazy fools?

From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq: Politics & Power:

The same neocon ideologues behind the Iraq war have been using the same tactics—alliances with shady exiles, dubious intelligence on W.M.D.—to push for the bombing of Iran. As President Bush ups the pressure on Tehran, is he planning to double his Middle East bet?

Coming soon to an arrogant government very near you: Fiscal Armageddon

Hate to say we told you so, and it gives us no joy being right, but we did and we are.

p m carpenter's commentary: Coming soon to an arrogant government very near you: Fiscal Armageddon:

The president's nearly $3 trillion, 2008 budget proposal reads like a happy 'how-to' manual for what Chalmers Johnson, the East Asian historian and thoughtful author of the eye-opening 'Blowback' series, unhappily surveys:

We are on the brink of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire. Once a nation starts down that path, the dynamics that apply to all empires come into play -- isolation, overstretch, the uniting of local and global forces opposed to imperialism, and in the end bankruptcy.

Add to that mixture an unhealthy dose of plutocratic protectionism, and you can see that we're no longer merely on the brink: We have done toppled over. Indeed, Republican apostate Kevin Phillips, in works such as American Theocracy and Wealth and Democracy, forcefully argues that our system of governance is already a de-facto plutocracy -- yesterday's democracy is just that: yesterday.

Bush’s Advisers Telling Him ‘Invade Iran. Then Everyone Will See How Smart We Are’

These people need to be strung up, now, before they destroy the entire planet!

They are all insane and they won't admit it. They are a danger to themselves and others. Will someone please have them committed.

Think Progress » Norquist: Bush’s Advisers Telling Him ‘Invade Iran. Then Everyone Will See How Smart We Are’:

In this month’s issue of Vanity Fair, Craig Unger writes that the same neoconservative advisers who advocated for the Iraq war are now recycling the same tactics to push for the bombing of Iran. Unger reports that not all of Bush’s key conservative allies are pleased with the administration’s course on Iran:

“Everything the advocates of war said would happen hasn’t happened,” says the president of Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist, an influential conservative who backed the Iraq invasion. “And all the things the critics said would happen have happened. [The president’s neoconservative advisers] are effectively saying, ‘Invade Iran. Then everyone will see how smart we are.’ But after you’ve lost x number of times at the roulette wheel, do you double-down?”

The Truth About a "free Press"

There isn't one

John F. Kennedy Jr.:

John Swinton, the former Chief of Staff at the New York Times, made this candid confession [it's worth noting that Swinton was called 'The Dean of His Profession' by other newsmen, who admired him greatly]:
There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know
beforehand that it would never appear in print.

I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job.

If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to
vilify; to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell the country for his daily bread. You know it and I know it and what folly is this toasting an independent press.

We are the tools and vassals of the rich

Iran to Strike U.S. Interests if Attacked | World Latest | Guardian Unlimited

Well, what the hell do we expect?

Does anyone believe that Iran would just sit there and take it?

Would we?

Iran to Strike U.S. Interests if Attacked | World Latest | Guardian Unlimited:

"TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - If the United States were to attack Iran, the country would respond by striking U.S. interests all over the world, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Thursday.

Speaking to a gathering of Iranian air force commanders, Khamenei said: ``The enemy knows well that any invasion would be followed by a comprehensive reaction to the invaders and their interests all over the world.''

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

About that Bush Family Ranch in Paraguay...

Interesting and well-documented follow up to the on-going Paraguay articles.

Nevertheless, we are not all that concerned about the Bushites escaping to South America as the Nazis did.

Times have changed.

No one is safe, if someone wants, badly enough, to get them.

Keeping track of investments anywhere around oil or fresh water is worth the effort, and can prove very instructive.

About that Bush Family Ranch in Paraguay... | TPMCafe:

"A government office forbidden by law from disseminating information domestically was the mouthpiece of choice for the administration to deny rumors that the Bush family purchased thousands of acres in a remote portion of northern Paraguay.

According to CNN, the State Department's USINFO Counter-Disinformation/Misinformation Team, led by Todd Leventhal, 'helps U.S. embassies identify and rebut other nations' disinformation, most often fabrications about the United States planted in foreign newspapers or television shows and, these days, on the Internet.'

The State Department's response is posted on the USINFO website in its 'media archives.' Curiously, the official denial (below) was not issued separately but was appended to an earlier statement responding to equally persistent rumors of a U.S. military base in Paraguay.

Permission Be Damned


The time is long past for real CD!

So, there is no time like the present.

William Rivers Pitt | Permission Be Damned:

Because I was unable to attend the anti-war demonstration in Washington, DC, last week, I made sure to watch the broadcast of it on C-SPAN. It was, from what I could see through the camera's eye, almost exactly like every other protest against this Iraq occupation that has taken place in the capital since October of 2002. It was loud and colorful, festooned with famous faces and eloquent voices, a showcase for the hundreds of thousands of souls who stand against this terrible conflict.

As the speakers made their statements, a friend and I wrote back and forth about the protest itself. My friend was irked that the protest itself was happening on a weekend, before an empty Capitol Building, and was not something that slowed or disrupted the business of this government. 'Why not snarl up DC on a weekday and get some real news coverage?' she wrote. 'Since when did civil disobedience care about permits?'

Her words, 'civil disobedience,' brought me up short.

This isn't civil disobedience,' I replied. 'This is a very polite, permission-granted protest. It is the essence of civil obedience. Don't get me wrong; I'm all for public protests. But to call this 'civil disobedience' is an insult to those who have actually put their asses on the line in real disobedience.

Libby Testimony Points Directly to Bush, Cheney

If this revelation does not spur Congress to action, impeachment, I give up on the idea that we have any legal means with which to deal with this criminal administration.

Click over, it gets worse!

Leopold and Ash | Libby Testimony Points Directly to Bush, Cheney: "

The document, titled the National intelligence Estimate, was officially declassified on July 18, 2003. However Libby testified before the grand jury in March 2004 that he had received instructions from Cheney on July 8, 2003, to release portions of the report to Judith Miller.

'The vice president instructed me to go talk to Judith Miller to lay things out for her,' Libby said, according to court transcripts. Libby added that President Bush did not know Judith Miller, but authorized Libby to share the NIE with her. Miller did not publish a story based on the information Libby leaked to her.

Libby testified that the leak of the NIE to Miller was aimed at undermining the credibility of former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who on July 6, 2003, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times accusing the Bush administration of 'twisting' pre-war intelligence on Iraq. Wilson's stinging rebuke of the administration led Libby and other White House officials to leak Wilson's wife's covert CIA status to reporters one week later.

Libby said, according to the court transcript, that the leak of the NIE on July 8, 2003, was a closely guarded secret and that only he, Vice President Dick Cheney, and President Bush were aware that some of its contents would be leaked.

Watchdog Group Unveils List of 25 Most Corrupt Admin Officials - CREW

How did CREW miss the top guys and gals?

Watchdog Group Unveils List of 25 Most Corrupt Admin Officials - CREW:

By Paul Kiel,
February 7, 2007

Quick! Which former Bush administration official was caught shoplifting? Which one was convicted for lying about his relationship to Jack Abramoff? Which one is heading to prison for soliciting sex from an underage girl?

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has the answers, in their list of 25 most corrupt administration officials, snappily titled, 'Criminals and Scoundrels.'

And those with an unending appetite for catalogues of administration corruption will also enjoy our list of scandalized administration officials that we painstakingly compiled back in December.

For the full story, please visit ."

Who the hell cares what happened to the money?

Must see video:


TPMmuckraker February 6, 2007 02:06 PM:

What happened to billions in Iraqi funds that were overseen by the Coalition Provisional Authority? That's not 'important,' according to David Oliver, the former Director of Management and Budget of the agency.

A recording of the unfortunately candid remarks, previously made by Oliver to the BBC, were played during this morning's oversight hearing by Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA). The hearing has focused on the CPA's administration of nearly $9 billion in Iraqi funds in 2003 and 2004 -- money that Stuart Bowen, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, has said was inadequately accounted for.

'I have no idea, I can't tell you whether or not the money went to the right things or didn't - nor do I actually think it is important,' Oliver says on the tape . 'Billions of dollars of their money disappeared, yes I understand, I'm saying what difference does it make?' "

The Quiet Plan to Kill Medicare

Well, of course the press hasn't noticed. They don't think they will ever need it.

Geeze Louise, do they ever have a shock waiting for them!

AlterNet: Blogs: PEEK: The Quiet Plan to Kill Medicare:

Posted by Elana Levin at 11:34 AM on February 6, 2007.

The press has failed to notice that the President's proposed 2008 budget includes a plan to do away with Medicare.

From The Nitpick File; annoying little phrases

Just returned from a lovely vacation from the News and anything remotely connected to it. One would think I would not be in a nitpicking state of mind.

One would be wrong!.

I am turning into a cranky, old curmudgeon before my time.

So, here we go......

I'm sure that everyone knows that official Washington and the citizens of pundit-world (Is there really a difference?) occasionally get stuck on one phrase or the other. It is repeated ad nauseum.

Back during Watergate, the pharse was, "at that point in time." Those of us who were alive and politically conscious during those days will remember that phrase. For example, "At that point in time," I was not aware that Richard Nixon was a crook, a creep or just plain psychotic, or something similar.

During Iran/Contra, we were treated to "plausible deniability." Plausible deniability meant that Ronald Reagan could go on live TeeVee and say that, in his heart, he did not believe that his administration had traded arms for hostages with Iran (Yes, Iran), and violated the hell out of the Boland amendment, as a side enterprise, but that apparently his administration was doing just that. He took "full responsibility," which means absolutely nothing.

(There is another one of those phrases. It goes something like this; "I take "full responsibility" for everything under the sun, but I do not expect to be held accountable for any of it, not do I intend to hold myself accountable by doing the right thing and resigning, effective at noon tomorrow.)

Even the independent counsel, at the time, Lawrence Walsh, bought that one, since Reagan did not recognize his own Secretary of State by the end of his presidency. Who in their right mind and compassionate heart would want to thrown an old man, in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's disease into prison. Certainly not me, nor anyone I know.

But I do believe that taking responsibility for a crime should mean accountability under the law. It usually does. Admittedly, when someone fesses up, before they are caught dead to rights after a costly investigation, there should be some leniency from society and its courts.

The vice in those days, George H.W. Bush, had "plausible deniability" because he said he was out-of-the-loop. Anyone who was paying attention to the Iran/Contra investigations, at all, had to be plain loopy to believe that, but by the time GHWB pardoned the only man who could tie him directly to Iran/Contra and more, Casper Weinberger, no one cared. "Plausible deniability" had managed to run out the clock against the typical American attention span.

Admittedly, Iran/ Contra was capable of putting even the most politically obssessed among us into a boredom-induced coma. There were no blow-jobs, no one got screwed, except the American people, of course, who always do, but couldn't care less.

We don't seem to care a whit about the raping, robbing and pillaging of our whole country, but are absolutely entranced by individual blow jobs, whether the receivers of said blow jobs are Hollywood celebrities or the POTUS.

(God, we are an odd lot! Trust me, we really are, though more often than not, one must get far enough away from the forest to see the trees, in order to get a true glimpse of just how really odd we are, as a nation.)

Now we come to the annoying phrases of today:

Today's annoying phrases are more annoying to me than those of yesteryear simply because they really have no meaning at all.

At least, those aforementioned annoying phrases had a meaning and a clear purpose. When someone specified "at that point in time," he or she was attempting to lay out a time line of sorts. Of course, time lines are much easier to lay out these days, with computers everywhere and records of what was said and done, and when, are kept by all sorts of folks, not just the news media and the government. In the early 70's it was not so easy.

Even "plausable deniability" was understandable by most folks. Out-of-the-loop was well understood, if not believed, in the context in which it was used.

One of today's linguistic herd-phrases is, "at the end of the day." I really don't know who started this one, but I think he or she should be put in stockades on the National Mall.

What freakin' day are we talking about?

This highly annoying phrase is used a gazillion times a day, to indicate a time for a "final outcome," one would assume.

But what the hell does it mean; at the end of what day? Today, tomorrow, July 30, 2008?

Could it mean, The Day After (starring Jason Robards) or Jan 1, In The Year, 2525, if man is still alive?

What the hell does it mean?

It is a throw away phrase. It is used ad nauseum, by members of both parties and all sorts of punditry. It doesn't mean a damn thing!

O.K. I admitted that this post was from the "Nitpick File." I know how petty this sounds, but I don't care, because I do have a point. I will get to it, eventually.

Here is another one of my favorite picks for the junk pile of stupid, meaningless phrases:

"Going forward." We are always "going forward," it seems. Even when it is damned apparent that we are standing still or, even, going backward.

We are "going forward" on everything from Iraq to Climate Change.

I just want to know what we are "going forward" to;" the 9th hell realm, national bankruptcy, Chinese ownership of all Americans, Armageddon, a miracle that will somehow save us from ourselves? What?

What the hell does "going forward" mean? Who decides which way is "forward?"

The Decider?

If so, we might as well all pull the covers over our heads and kiss our asses good-bye, not to mention any hope of financial solvency, let alone security, retirement or basic health care.

I am reminded of that old Christian saying, usually stated with all the authority of God, himself; "God will not give you more than you can handle."

As a friend of mine once asked, "until what happens, exactly?" Until your head explodes, until you melt down into a puddle of hopelessness and despair or, perhaps, have another sort of meltdown that causes even more despair for others?

What is the marker? Have you had all you can bear when your breakfast cereal is topped with Xanax instead of blueberries? How about when you are shot to the rim with Haldol and are drooling in a corner of a cuckoo's nest, somewhere? Maybe, when you would rather spend the few bucks you have left, after trying to pay the bills, on anti-depressants instead of food?

At what point does it become obvious, even to the village idiot, that God, or someone, has, indeed, given you more than you can bear?

"Suicide brings changes," says the theme song from M.A.S.H.

It does, indeed, but only to the people who care about the suicider.

How many Iraq war vets have offed themselves? Does anyone making the big bucks in the news media give a rat's ass?

Hell no, because we are going forward, at the end of the day! (Sure as hell is the end of the day for some folks)

Perhaps, I find these meaningless phrases and others, annoying because, after the last 6 years of "imperial reality creating," I am highly suspicious of any phrase that is repeated, ad nauseum, by simply everyone.

Then, there is always the possibility that I have been given more than I can bear and it has turned me into a very cranky person, who is annoyed by simply everything, including stupid, meaningless phrases, when meaningful lives ar being lost and shattered.

Don't even get me started on stupid, senatorial rows over the wording of non-binding resolutions to make a record of who is for or against "stay the course."

I certainly shall not comment on those senators who do not even wish to talk about it. I can do without visits from people working for alphabet soup agencies, just because I am feeling cranky.

How many meaningless words can we come up with to describe or refer to national disaster, total dishonor, loss of credibility and constitutional crisis?

Just wondering..........

Submitted by Dot Dedman, an Indy-sixer

....and the truth shall set us free.

Scooter Libby and the media debacle

The American news media has become almost irrelevant, and "treason-gate" is only one example.

Even now, they only report on the trial, which several blogs do a better job of reporting.

During the Libby trial, there has been evidence put into the record that would strongly indicate that the president and the vice president were complicit in the over-the-top aassult on Joe and Valerie Plame Wilson.

Where are the reporters, busy looking into this revelation?

Where is Congress, by the way? We can only hope they are waiting for the trial to finish, before the impeachment hearings begin on this matter.

We believe they have already begun on other matters, like trillions of missing dollars in Iraq, war profiteering and no-bid contracts and a host of other issues, like how the administration concocted evidence for the prosecution of an illegal war.

Media Matters - Scooter Libby and the media debacle:

The New York Times made headlines last week when it tapped a new D.C. bureau chief. But if the paper of record really wanted to jump-start its Beltway news operation, maybe it should have tried to lure Patrick Fitzgerald away from the Department of Justice.

Let's face it, as special counsel in charge of investigating the Valerie Plame CIA leak, and now the lead prosecutor in D.C. federal court methodically laying out the damning evidence of perjury, obstruction, and lying against Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, Fitzgerald has consistently shown more interest -- and determination -- in uncovering the facts of the Plame scandal than most Beltway journalists, including the often somnambulant D.C. newsroom of The New York Times.

Indeed, for long stretches, the special counsel easily supplanted the timid D.C. press corps and became the fact-finder of record for the Plame story. It was Fitzgerald and his team of G-men -- not journalists -- who were running down leads, asking tough questions and, in the end, helping inform the American people about possible criminal activity inside the White House.

Military waste under fire / $1 trillion missing -- Bush plan targets Pentagon accounting

Where did all the money go?

(In another news story yesterday, Peter Pace admitted that there is not enough equipment for the "surge.")

Congress has written enough blank checks during this insane war, totaling enough money to put a Prius (or similar car) in the driveway of every America, free of charge, and still have plenty left over to invest in R&D for alternatively fueled transportation.

We cannot pump our way to independence from Arabian oil or any OPEC oil, for that matter.

So what does Bush do? Throw trillions down a rat hole!

Military waste under fire / $1 trillion missing -- Bush plan targets Pentagon accounting:

The Department of Defense, already infamous for spending $640 for a toilet seat, once again finds itself under intense scrutiny, only this time because it couldn't account for more than a trillion dollars in financial transactions, not to mention dozens of tanks, missiles and planes.

The Pentagon's unenviable reputation for waste will top the congressional agenda this week, when the House and Senate are expected to begin floor debate on a Bush administration proposal to make sweeping changes in how the Pentagon spends money, manages contracts and treats civilian employees.

The Bush proposal, called the Defense Transformation for the 21st Century Act, arrives at a time when the nonpartisan General Accounting Office has raised the volume of its perennial complaints about the financial woes at Defense, which recently failed its seventh audit in as many years.

Court Hears Libby Describe Cheney as 'Upset' at Critic -

Libby's attorneys must be hard pressed for any defense, to put on this one.

"I forgot a half dozen conversations about someone who was considered W.H. enemy #1 and was, then, 'taken aback' when I heard the same thing from Tim Russert, who says he never said it."

I'm no lawyer, but it looks like these guys are just looking to appeal, appeal, appeal....until the pardon comes.

Court Hears Libby Describe Cheney as 'Upset' at Critic -

Vice President Cheney and other senior White House officials regarded a former ambassador's accusations that President Bush misled the nation in going to war in Iraq as an unparalleled political assault and, early in the summer of 2003, held daily discussions about how to debunk them, I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby told a federal grand jury.

In grand jury audiotapes played yesterday during Libby's perjury trial, the vice president's then-chief of staff said Cheney had been 'upset' and 'disturbed' by criticisms from former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV that Bush had twisted intelligence to justify the war. And Libby said that Karl Rove had been 'animated' by a conversation with Robert D. Novak, in which the conservative columnist told Rove he 'had a bad taste in his mouth' about Wilson and was writing a column about him.

Libby is charged with lying to the grand jury as it investigated a leak by administration officials of the identity of Wilson's wife, an undercover CIA officer named Valerie Plame. The sound of Libby's clear, measured voice in the tapes -- filling a courtroom in U.S. District Court here for six hours over the past two days -- buttresses the prosecution's case in two significant ways.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Marshals: Innocent People Placed On 'Watch List' To Meet Quota

Here we are, in the Soviet States of America, and no one seems to give a damn!

How long are, we, the people, going to stand for this BS?

It is high time that these data bases were destroyed!

Marshals: Innocent People Placed On 'Watch List' To Meet Quota - News:

DENVER -- You could be on a secret government database or watch list for simply taking a picture on an airplane. Some federal air marshals say they're reporting your actions to meet a quota, even though some top officials deny it.

The air marshals, whose identities are being concealed, told 7NEWS that they're required to submit at least one report a month. If they don't, there's no raise, no bonus, no awards and no special assignments.

'Innocent passengers are being entered into an international intelligence database as suspicious persons, acting in a suspicious manner on an aircraft ... and they did nothing wrong,' said one federal air marshal.

Leak case hangs on Libby's credibility - Los Angeles Times

There is no credibility in this administration, period!

Leak case hangs on Libby's credibility - Los Angeles Times:

WASHINGTON — Former vice presidential aide I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby's defense in his perjury trial rests largely on the claim that he was too busy with pressing affairs of state to recall minor events such as conversations with reporters about an obscure CIA employee.

But after nine government witnesses testified in federal court here over the last two weeks, a question is emerging: Given all the time and attention the White House devoted in 2003 to CIA operative Valerie Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, how credible is Libby's claim of forgetfulness?

Libby, 56, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, is charged with obstructing a federal investigation into how the identity of Plame became public in the summer of 2003.

Wilson's public criticism of the reasons for the Iraq war spawned what the trial has shown to be a concerted effort by Cheney's office to discredit him. Prosecutors allege that as the administration pushed back, Plame became caught in the crossfire and was exposed.

What If Vice Pres. Gore Had Outed a Covert CIA Specialist in Terror Weapons?

Nobody I know is anywhere near through with Mr. Cheney.

He hasn't gotten away with anything yet!

Pensito Review » What If Vice Pres. Gore Had Outed a Covert CIA Specialist in Terror Weapons?:

Imagine the reaction from the media and the Republican Party if this story had been in the news ten years ago:

Sworn testimony has revealed that Vice Pres. Al Gore masterminded the unmasking of a covert CIA agent who specialized in the terrorist black-market for weapons of mass destruction — and that Gore’s motive was to exact political retribution against the agent’s husband, an outspoken critic of Clinton-Gore policies.

It is hardly an exaggeration to suggest that Vice Pres. Gore would have been hounded from office within weeks of such headlines — as Vice Pres. Mondale or any other Democratic vice president would have been.

And yet we now know from testimony by an FBI agent and others at Scooter Libby’s perjury trial in the CIA Leak scandal that it was not Karl Rove who masterminded the campaign to reveal agent Valerie Plame’s identity, as most of us assumed — it was Libby’s boss, Dick Cheney, the vice president of the United States.

Soldiers in Iraq view troop surge as a lost cause

Well, of course it is. The only people who believe otherwise are the ones safely far from the fighting.

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 02/03/2007 | Soldiers in Iraq view troop surge as a lost cause:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Army 1st Lt. Antonio Hardy took a slow look around the east Baghdad neighborhood that he and his men were patrolling. He grimaced at the sound of gunshots in the distance. A machine gunner on top of a Humvee scanned the rooftops for snipers. Some of Hardy's men wondered aloud if they'd get hit by a roadside bomb on the way back to their base.

'To be honest, it's going to be like this for a long time to come, no matter what we do,' said Hardy, 25, of Atlanta. 'I think some people in America don't want to know about all this violence, about all the killings. The people back home are shielded from it; they get it sugar-coated.'

While senior military officials and the Bush administration say the president's decision to send more American troops to pacify Baghdad will succeed, many of the soldiers who're already there say it's a lost cause.

- U.S. hell-bent for Iran war

Don't say that our neighbors to the north didn't warn us! - Opinion/Comment - U.S. hell-bent for Iran war:

TORONTO -- The Bush-Cheney administration seems hell-bent on provoking war with Iran, and the U.S.-Iran confrontation is getting very dangerous. The heaviest concentration of U.S. naval strike forces since the 2003 war against Iraq is concentrating off Iran.

In a disturbing replay of that conflict, CIA drones and U.S. Air Force recon aircraft - along with U.S. and British Special Forces - are overflying Iran and probing its nuclear and military installations. The CIA and Britain's MI6 are stirring unrest among Iran's Kurds and Azerbaijanis, and arming Iranian Marxist and royalist exiles.

A belligerent U.S. President George Bush ordered U.S. forces in Iraq to 'kill' Iranian agents or diplomats who appear threatening.

U.S. troops in northern Iraq broke into an Iranian liaison office and arrested its military staff. Bush unblushingly warns Iran, not to 'meddle' in neighbouring Iraq.

Pentagon sources accused Iran of smuggling weapons and explosives to 'Iraqi insurgents' - though the 'insurgents' are, in fact, Shia militiamen allied to the U.S.-installed Baghdad regime. Half of the 21,000 additional U.S. troops headed to Iraq are being positioned to cover the Iranian border and block an Iranian threat to the main U.S. Kuwait-Baghdad supply line.

US preparing 'biggest ever' security crackdown

Here we go; an even bigger mess!

US preparing 'biggest ever' security crackdown |

A US-IRAQI campaign to stabilise Baghdad will begin soon and the offensive against militants will be on a scale never seen during four years of war, American officers said today.

Briefing a small group of foreign reporters, three American colonels who are senior advisers to the Iraqi army and police in Baghdad said a command centre overseeing the crackdown would be activated tomorrow.

'The expectation is the plan will be implemented soon thereafter,' Colonel Doug Heckman, senior adviser to the 9th Iraqi Army division, said at a US military base in Baghdad.

'It's going to be an operation unlike anything this city has seen. It's a multiple order magnitude of difference, not just a 30 per cent, I mean a couple hundred per cent,' he added, referring to previous offensives that failed to stem bloodshed.

Israel's Bomb, Iran's Pursuit of the Bomb and U.S. War Preparations (Part One)

"The sins pf America are quite well known......

Walter C.'s Bomb, Iran's Pursuit of the Bomb and U.S. War Preparations (Part One):

Four years ago today, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell played a major role in persuading a gullible, stupefied and craven American news media and public - but not a cynical world - to support the Bush administration's illegal, immoral invasion of Iraq. He did so by presenting a panoply of lies, false statements and exaggerations about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda terrorists.

Four years later, as both United States and Israel prepare their populations for an illegal, immoral preventive war against Iran -- allegedly to disrupt, if not destroy, the secret nuclear weapons program that both insist (without evidence) is well under way there -- Americans might do well to avoid being duped again. Thus, they might contemplate not only the allegations against Iran, but also the sins of the United States and Israel when it comes to developing, using and brandishing their own nuclear weapons.

The sins of the United States are quite well known. Acting on the advice of Albert Einstein, who feared that Nazi Germany might obtain nuclear weapons, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt authorized a crash program, the Manhattan Project, to develop the bombs that would be dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Nancy's plans for George

A "No Confidence Vote" in the House regarding the "Surge." Unfortunately we are not England and, in case no one has noticed, the "surge" has already begun.

Nice effort, but it is all for naught.

This administration IS the problem. Until we deal with that, directly, not much else will matter. George will do as he (or Cheney) damn well pleases, one way or the other. That, Friends, is the terrible truth that the Democrats still don't get, for the most part.

George is not like Saddam in one crucial aspect. He cannot be contained for another two years.

Pelosi says that the House will move to pass a resolution, or do something, I'm still not clear just what, to prevent Bush from attacking Iran, if it seems apparent that that is his plan.

Madam Speaker! What exactly do you need to know, for it to apparent that that is exactly what he intends to do?

Admiral in command = Iran

Huge Naval armada in the Persian Gulf and patriot missiles bristling all over the Gulf States.

Air Force build up all around the Black Sea, with anti-aircraft and missile systems as far north as Poland.

Unless all of the above comprise some kind of Psy-ops program, on Iran and the people of this country, Bush is planning to attack Iran.

How much more obvious does it have to get?

At Democrats' Meeting, Bush Appeals for Cooperation -

Deep divisions remain, especially on the war, and despite the talk of bipartisan goodwill, Pelosi was already making plans Saturday morning for symbolic showdowns with the White House on international affairs. Before Bush arrived at the Kingsmill Resort for the House members' strategy session, she told her caucus that they will be voting on a no-confidence resolution on the president's plan to send additional troops to Iraq.

Moreover, Pelosi told her colleagues that if it appears likely that Bush wants to take the country to war against Iran, the House would take up a bill to deny him the authority to do so, according to Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly.

Still, both sides may have incentives to cooperate in the next year or so. If Bush has any hope of domestic achievements in the remainder of his term, he must find Democratic votes, while many top Democrats concede they are under some pressure to show that they can be more than just an opposition party.

Seriously, Is Cheney The Real POTUS?

It is high time we find out!

To make finding the answer to that question a priority, for the Congress and the people, is not about idle curiosity or left wing conspiracy theories (no matter how correct many such theories are turning out to be); it is about national security, Democracy and the Constitution.

This is a must read article"

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall February 4, 2007 09:01 AM:

I will confess to having been extremely skeptical in the early years of the Bush Presidency that Cheney was really running the show. It seemed too facile an explanation for what I was convinced was a far more complicated situation. Until the 9/11 Commission report came out.

Even the watered-down version of events in the Commission's report made it absolutely clear that Cheney, ensconced in the White House bunker on the morning of the attacks, had issued shootdown orders outside of the chain of command and then conspired with the President to conceal this fact from the Commission.

Since then, I've gone from being open to the idea of an Imperial Vice Presidency to being convinced that historians will debate whether something approaching a Cheney-led coup d'etat has occurred, in which some of the powers of the Executive were extra-constitutionally usurped by the Office of the Vice President.

Feinstein warns Republicans not to stop Iraq debate

Since when have Republicans listened to anything?

Seems they are prepared to sacrifice their party, if not the country, for this pathological administration.

Feinstein warns Republicans not to stop Iraq debate - Yahoo! News:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Sunday warned Republicans not to block consideration of a measure opposing President Bush's troop increase in
Iraq, saying it would be a 'terrible mistake' to prevent debate on the top issue in America.

With a Senate vote set for Monday on whether to consider the bipartisan resolution, Feinstein warned that if the nonbinding measure is blocked, even tougher proposals against the president's Iraq policy will surface before long.

'It's obstructionism,' the California senator fumed about Senate Republican leaders' strategy to prevent debate on the resolution by Sens. John Warner (news, bio, voting record), a Virginia Republican, and Carl Levin (news, bio, voting record), a Michigan Democrat.

The proposal by Warner and Levin says lawmakers 'disagree' with Bush's decision last month to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq, although it would not force the president's hand.

Analysis: Bush's Iran stance echoes Iraq

Everyone sees it coming, but no one seems to be prepared to do anything about it.

Analysis: Bush's Iran stance echoes Iraq - Yahoo! News

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Crapolla, In The Extreme!

Real-world wisdom from outside the beltway.

Top Dems still counsel "go slow" approach to opposing the Iraq War

Let's see - polls show more than two thirds of Americans oppose President Bush's escalation plan, less than a quarter support his handling of the Iraq War, and the vast majority of the country thinks the war was a mistake and wants an exit strategy. Meanwhile, state legislatures are aggressively moving forward with resolutions demanding Congress use its power to stop Bush's escalation. What's the response from some top Democrats on Capitol Hill? Undermining their own leadership, of course. Here's this from the Washington Post:

"On the war front, two Democratic camps have developed. Liberals and antiwar stalwarts such as Murtha, one of Pelosi’s closest allies, want to aggressively use the power of the purse to affect policy, possibly by denying funds for increased troop strength in Iraq. But some senior Democrats and members of the leadership, such as Emanuel and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., counsel a go-slow approach, in which Democrats start with a nonbinding resolution against the president’s policies, use hearings to build public support for more dramatic action, and gauge voter feelings before legislative action to stop a military buildup in Iraq."

Hmm...I seem to remember something like this before. Oh, wait, yes - we have heard this before. Here's the Washington Post from November of 2005:

"As for Iraq policy, Emanuel added: 'At the right time, we will have a position.'"

And here's the Washington Post from December of 2005:

"House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) issued a statement Wednesday that was in marked contrast to Pelosi's. 'I believe that a precipitous withdrawal of American forces in Iraq could lead to disaster, spawning a civil war, fostering a haven for terrorists and damaging our nation's security and credibility,' he said."

On the Senate side it's perhaps even worse. While courageous leaders like Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) offer up legislation to use Congress's real power of the purse to stop the war, most Democrats are instead stampeding to offer non-binding resolutions. This, at the very same time the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has a new website asking people to sign a petition demanding President Bush not escalate the war. That the Democrats themselves actually have the majority power to stop the war themselves is not said - because to say as much is to admit the absurd nature of petitioning someone else to do something the petitioners themselves have the power to do.

In the year since top Democrats started demanding their own party leadership not work to stop the war, 907 U.S. soldiers have been killed. Of course, that's never reported by the Washington press corps when they hear the same Democrats preach a "go slow" approach. But that doesn't mean those troops didn't die, and that the people still telling us to "go slow" should be regarded as even mildly credible when it comes to national security. The fact that the people who get things wrong over and over and over again are granted financial and political rewards on the Beltway cocktail party circuit doesn't mean these people are doing anything other than running the country into the ground.

I asked this before, and so I'll ask it again: How many troops have to die for insulated Washington politicians like Rahm Emanuel and Steny Hoyer to stop counseling the "go slow" approach? How many more limbs have to be blown off before these people stop running to reporters offering up the "we'll have a position at the right time" strategy? How much more damage has to be done to U.S. national security and international credibility before these politicians stop puffing out their chests and repeating the "withdrawal could lead to disaster" mantra? How worse does this situation have to be in Iraq and how against the war does the
American public have to be for Democrats to actually use their power to stop it?

And here is, perhaps, the hardest question of all for progressives: At what point do we take off our partisan blinders and start wondering whether a very powerful faction of Democrats actually continues to SUPPORT President Bush and the War in Iraq?

....and the truth shall set us free.

They Just Can't Let Go of Corruption?

Lobbying legislation must require that K Street report the campaign cash it collects for lawmakers.
Sunday, February 4, 2007;

DISTURBING, though not particularly surprising, rumblings are emanating from the House of Representatives to the effect that some Democrats are balking at requiring lobbyists to disclose the campaign contributions they arrange or collect for lawmakers.

This important requirement was included in the lobbying and ethics package that recently passed the Senate; Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Martin T. Meehan (D-Mass.) have introduced the same measure in the House and want to see it included in the lobbying legislation that the House plans to take up in the next few months. A similar provision was overwhelmingly approved by the House Judiciary Committee last year but unceremoniously disappeared from the final version of the legislation, which never became law in any event.

The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reported last week that some Democratic House members, egged on by K Street lobbyists, are agitating to have the provision removed. That can't be allowed to happen. Mr. Van Hollen, who's responsible for helping to raise big money from K Street and elsewhere as the new head of the House Democrats' campaign arm, nonetheless understands that providing accurate information about the real influence of lobbyists is a critical piece of reform.

As it stands, lawmakers who happily take the cash and the lobbyists who harvest it for them are all too aware of how much the former are indebted to the latter. The public is left in the dark. If House leaders want to have credibility on cleaning up the "culture of corruption" they decry, they will see to it that the lobbying package that passes the House is as strong on this score as the Senate version.

...and the truth shall set us free.

American Savings less that duriing the Great Depression

WASHINGTON — Consumer spending rose a solid 0.7% in December, best showing in five months, while incomes rose 0.5%, the Commerce Department said Thursday.
Both figures matched economists' expectations.
Last month, and all last year, people once again spent everything they made and then some, pushing the personal savings rate to the lowest level since the Great Depression. The savings rate is a gross figure derived from subtracting personal spending from disposable personal income.

WHAT COUNTS AS SAVINGS?: Not all your money.

Commerce said Thursday that the savings rate for 2006 was a negative 1%, meaning that not only did people spend everything they earned but they also dipped into savings or increased borrowing to finance purchases. The 2006 figure was lower than a negative 0.4% in 2005 and was the poorest showing since a negative 1.5% savings rate in 1933 during the Depression.
In other news, the Labor Department said the number of newly laid off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits dropped by 20,000 last week to 307,000. That improvement pushed the four-week average for claims to the lowest level in a year, indicating that the labor market remains healthy.

The savings rate has been negative for an entire year only four times — in 2005 and 2006 and in 1933 and 1932. But the reasons for the negative savings rates were vastly different during the two periods.

During the Depression, when one-fourth of the labor force was without a job, people dipped into savings to pay for the basic necessities.

Economists have put forward various reasons to explain the current lack of savings, among them: a feeling on the part of some people that they do not need to save because of the run-up in their investments, such as homes and stock portfolios; and an effort by middle-class wage earners to maintain their current lifestyles even though wage gains have been depressed by global competition.

....and the truth shall set us free.

Continued Lite Blogging

The Indys, here at the Lantern, are taking a few well-deserved vacation days; a vacation from the news, that is. We highly recommend it as therapeutic.

A pelican 1 member, Trammell, will be filling in with light blogging and keeping an eagle eye out for dire emergencies.

....and the truth shall set us free.

U.S. Attorney Firings Set Stage for Congressional Battle -

It's about damned time something did!

U.S. Attorney Firings Set Stage for Congressional Battle -

H.E. 'Bud' Cummins III had served for five years as the U.S. attorney in Little Rock -- a job he obtained in large part because of his credentials as a longtime GOP lawyer and avid supporter of President Bush.

So Cummins, 47, was more than a little surprised when he got a call from the Justice Department last year asking him to resign. He was told there was nothing wrong with his performance, but that officials in Washington wanted to give the job to another GOP loyalist.

States Challenge Nat'l Driver's License

The other reason, beyond the federal data base and all that, is that states make a lot of money off those licenses.

If Americans are required to carry I.D.s of any kind, they should be free.

States Challenge Nat'l Driver's License -

WASHINGTON -- A revolt against a national driver's license, begun in Maine last month, is quickly spreading to other states.

The Maine Legislature on Jan. 26 overwhelmingly passed a resolution objecting to the Real ID Act of 2005. The federal law sets a national standard for driver's licenses and requires states to link their record-keeping systems to national databases.

Vice President's Shadow Hangs Over Trial

That's a big-ass shadow.

Maybe a "big-time" shadow or a big time shadow of a "First Classs Asshole."

Vice President's Shadow Hangs Over Trial -

Vice President Cheney's press officer, Cathie Martin, approached his chief of staff, I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, on Air Force Two on July 12, 2003, to ask how she should respond to journalists' questions about Joseph C. Wilson IV. Libby looked over one of the reporters' questions and told Martin: 'Well, let me go talk to the boss and I'll be back.'

On Libby's return, Martin testified in federal court last week, he brought a card with detailed replies dictated by Cheney, including a highly partisan, incomplete summary of Wilson's investigation into Iraq's suspected weapons of mass destruction program.

....and the truth shall set us free

Job creation weak; unemployment rises

This was predictable.

The crash has begun. Why won't anyone recognize it publicly?

Job creation weak; unemployment rises Chicago Tribune:

As U.S. employers, cautious about the economy's direction, added fewer workers than expected in January, the nation's jobless rate inched upward, the Labor Department reported Friday.

Although most experts had been expecting the report would show about 150,000 net new jobs were created, payrolls grew by a tepid 111,000 last month.

The unemployment rate, which is derived from a different survey, had been expected to remain at December's 4.5 percent level, but instead moved up to a still historically low 4.6 percent.

In addition, the rate of growth in workers' pay slowed.

FRANK RICH: Why Dick Cheney Cracked Up

What we still want to know is, who forged the "Niger Documents" and why?

It has been over 4 years. Why do we not know the answer to this simple question?

Welcome to Pottersville: FRANK RICH: Why Dick Cheney Cracked Up:

In the days since Dick Cheney lost it on CNN, our nation’s armchair shrinks have had a blast. The vice president who boasted of “enormous successes” in Iraq and barked “hogwash” at the congenitally mild Wolf Blitzer has been roundly judged delusional, pathologically dishonest or just plain nuts. But what else is new? We identified those diagnoses long ago.

The more intriguing question is what ignited this particularly violent public flare-up.

The answer can be found in the timing of the CNN interview, which was conducted the day after the start of the perjury trial of Mr. Cheney’s former top aide, Scooter Libby. The vice president’s on-camera crackup reflected his understandable fear that a White House cover-up was crumbling. He knew that sworn testimony in a Washington courtroom would reveal still more sordid details about how the administration lied to take the country into war in Iraq.

The 9/11 Chronicles: Just What We Needed! 9/11 Percipient Witnesses!

A percipient witness?

Political Cortex: The 9/11 Chronicles: Just What We Needed! 9/11 Percipient Witnesses!